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Full text of "The mutineer; a romance of Pitcairn Island"

THE MUTINEET{^ 



BY THE SAME AUTHORS. 
Uniform in style and price wilh this Volume. 

A FIRST FLEET FAMILY: 

A Hitherto Unpublished Narrative 
of certain Remarkable Adven- 
tures Compiled from the 
Papers of Sergeant 
William Drew 
of the Marines. 
With Map 



The Mutineer^ 

A ROMANCE OF 
PITCAIRN ISLAND 



LOUIS BECKE 



<jLr^ 



ii 

AND 



WALTER JEFFERY 



LONDON 

T. FISHER UN WIN 

PATERNOSTER SQUARE 
MDCCCXCVIII 






rt^ 



{All rights rescnxcf\ 



MAiU 



CONTENTS 



^ 



PART I 



CHAP. 




PAGE 


I. 


THE HEART OF A SAVAGE 


I 


II. 


THE CUTTING OF THE CABLE 


lO 


III. 


WHITE MEN AND BROWN WOMEN 


. 22 


IV. 


THE FIRST SAILING OF THE " BOUNTY " 


31 


V. 


THE LAST STRAW 


• 37 


VI. 


THE RUBICON . . . . 


43 


VII. 


MUTINY .... 


• 57 


VIII. 

■ 


"hurrah for Tahiti!" 


67 


hx. 


THE council in THE CABIN . 


' 74 


X. 


PIPIRI THE AREOI 


83 


XI. 


TOGETHER AGAIN 


. 89 


XII. 


THE END OF PIPIRI 


103 


XIII. 


FAREWELL TO TUBUAI 


. "3 


XIV. 


THE LAST SAILING OF THE " BOUNTY " . 


118 



968.507 



viii CONTENTS 

PART II 

CHAP. PAGE 

XV. THE SEARCH FOR A RESTING-PLACE . . IZJ 

XVI. THE FLIGHT OF THE KANAPU . . 139 
XVII. THE STORY OF AFITA . . . I48 

XVIII. BOUNTY BAY . , . . I 56 

XIX. HEWERS OF WOOD AND DRAWERS OF WATER . 1 64 

XX. MAHINa's FIRST-BORN . . I78 

XXI. THE FIRST TO DIE . . . . 186 

XXII. A LOYAL FRIEND . . . I93 

XXIII. THE OPPRESSOR .... I98 

XXIV. THE QUARREL . . . . .210 
XXV. THE REVOLT OF TALALU . . . 2l6 

XXVI. NAHl's MESSAGE .... 222 

XXVII. ALREMa's SONG .... 228 

XXVIII, "his heart's desire" . . . 235 

XXIX. the TONGUE OF A WOMAN . . . 242 

XXX. AFTER THE STORM . . . ZjC 

XXXI. "mine the hand!" . . 25c 
xxxii. nahi's revenge .... idi 

XXXIII. the brew OF death . . . 271 

XXXIV. "try TO FORGET THE PAST " . . 28 
XXXV. THE LAST SHOT ON AFITA . . .29 



PART I 

CHAPTER I 

THE HEART OF A SAVAGE 

IT was night at Tahiti, in the Society, Iskrid^. The 
trade-wind had died away-^ and a bright ilcod, ct 
shimmering moonlight poured dowji ypcn; the slumber- 
ing waters of a little harbour a few miles distant from 
Matavai Bay, and the white curve or beach that 
fringed the darkened line of palms shone and glistened 
like a belt of ivory under the effulgence of its rays. 
For nearly half a mile the broad sweep of dazzling 
sand showed no interruption nor break upon its surface 
save at one spot ; there it ran out into a long narrow 
point, on which, under a small cluster of graceful 
cocos, growing almost at the water's edge, a canoe 
was drawn up. 

Seated upon the platform ot the outrigger, and con- 
versing in low tones, were a man and woman. 

The man was an European, dressed in the uniform 
of a junior naval officer at the end of the last century. 
He was of medium height, with a dark, gipsy-like 

2 



2 THE MUTINEER 

complexion and wavy brown hair, and as he drew the 
woman's face to him and kissed her, her skin showed 
not so dark as his. 

The woman, or rather girl, was a pure-blooded 
native, wearing only the island pareu of tappa cloth 
about her loins and a snow-white teputa or poncho 
of the same material over her gracefully-rounded 
shoulders. The white man's right arm was round her 
waist, she held his left hand in hers, and with her head 
against his bosom looked up into his face with all the 
passionate ardour of a woman who loves. 

For a few moments the man ceased speaking and 
■ Looked anxipusly^ over his shoulder at a number of 
white tents, pitched in a grove of breadfruit trees 
:S()me fei\ hundred yai-ds away. 
'As lielooked,th<i' moonlight shone upon the musket 
barrel of a sentry, whose head could just be discerned 
above the beach as he paced slowly to and fro before 
the tents. 

Bending her head of wavy, glossy black hair, the girl 
pressed her lips softly upon the white man's hand, and 
raising her face again, her eyes followed his, and as she 
noticed his intent look, a curious, alarmed expression 
came into her own lustrous orbs. 

" What is it ? " she murmured. " Does the soldier 
see us ? " 

The man smiled reassuringly and shook his head ; 
then still clasping the girl's waist within his arm, he 
gazed earnestly into her beautiful face and sighed and 
muttered to himself. 

" Mahina," he said hesitatingly in the Tahitian 



THE IMAGE 3 

tongue and speaking very softly, " you are a beautiful 
woman." 

The girl's lips parted in a tender smile, her eyes 
glowed with a soft, happy light, and again she took 
his hand in hers and kissed it passionately. 

" My white lover," she murmured, " would that I 
could tell thee in thine own tongue how I love thee. 
But the language of Peretane ^ is hard to the lips of 
us of Tahiti ; yet, in a little time, when thou hast learned 
mine, thou wilt know all the great love that is in my 
heart for thee, and then thou shalt tell me all that is in 
thine for me." 

The man drew her slender figure to his bosom again ; 
although he spoke her tongue but indifferently and she 
knew little of his, the ardent love which shone in her 
eyes and illumined her whole face, made her meaning 
plain enough. For a minute or so he remained silent, 
then again the girl's eyes sought his and her hand 
trembled as she noted the troubled, anxious look 
deepening upon his features. 

" Kirisiani," she said, stroking his sun-bronzed cheek, 
"what is in thy mind to make this cloud come to thine 
eyes ? " 

" Mahina," he answered in English, " the time is 
near now for us to part " ; then seeing that the girl did 
not quite cornprehend, he repeated his words in the 
native language. 

" And wilt thou leave me who loveth thee, to sail 
away with the white y/r/V,2 thy enemy ? " 

"How can I help it? Am I not the King's officer ? 

' Britain. ^ An officer, a captain, or chief. 



4 THE MUTINEER 

Did I yield to my love for thee and let the ship sail 
without me, then in mine own land I should be held 
up to scorn as a false man, and those of my name 
would be shamed." 

The girl slowly bent her head and put her hands 
over her face ; then came a sudden, silent gush of tears. 
For a while she sobbed softly, as only women sob when 
some bright dream of love and happiness passes away 
for ever. Then with a quick movement she freed 
herself from the man's encircling arms, flung herself 
upon her knees on the sand, raised her tear-dimmed, 
starlike eyes to his, and spoke. 

" Yet thou knowest we love thee ; and if thou wilt 
remain with us my people will take thee to their 
hearts, and thou shalt become a chief among us. For 
see, I, Mahina, am of good blood, and there is no other 
woman in the land that loves thee as I do. And thou 
shalt have as many slaves as Tina, our chief, and like 
him, be carried upon men's shoulders wherever thou 
goest, so that thy feet shall not touch the ground." 

The man took her hands from his knees and, passing 
his arms around her, tenderly lifted her up to her seat 
again. Then with his forehead resting upon his hand 
he sat and thought. 

" No, Mahina. It cannot be as thou desirest ; for 
I am the King's servant, an y/r/7, and it would be 
death to me were I to yield to my love for thee and flee 
from the ship like one of the common sailors. Some 
day I may return — when I am no longer serving in a 
King's ship." 

He was on the point of rising and bidding her return 



THE IMAGE 5 

to her home in the native village which lay some 
distance back from the cluster of tents, when she 
sprang to her feet and stood before him with one hand 
pressed to her panting bosom. 

Barely eighteen years of age, her tall, slender figure, 
as she stood in the flood of moonlight, showed all 
the grace and beauty of perfect womanhood. Unlike 
the generality of the Polynesian women (who possess in 
their youth a faultless symmetry of figure rivalled by no 
other race in the world, yet too often have somewhat 
flattened faces), her features were absolutely perfect in 
their oval regularity and beauty, and through the olive 
skin of her cheek there now glowed a dusky red, and 
her lover saw that her frame was shaking with over- 
mastering passion as she strove to speak. Only once 
before had Fletcher Christian seen her look like this — 
when some of her girlish companions had coupled his 
name with that of Nuia, the sister of Tina, the chief. 

" Mahina," said her lover, stepping forward and 
essaying to take her hand. 

She drew quickly back, and made an almost 
threatening gesture. 

Christian paused irresolutely, for the look of scorn 
and fury in the girl's eyes daunted and shamed him. 
Then he spoke. 

" Mahina, this is folly. Why art thou so angered 
with me ? " 

"Thou false white man!" she answered, and the 
strange, hoarse break in her young voice startled him 
— its melody and sweetness were changed into the 
jarring accents of rage and wounded pride ; " touch 



6 THE MUTINEER 

me no more," and here a quick, sobbing note sounded 
in her throat. " Am I nothing to thee ? Is all my 
beauty so soon dead to thee, and wilt thou put such 
shame upon me r " 

" Nay, Mahina, but listen " 

" Why should I listen to thee, now that thou art 
about to cast me off? Dost thou think that I am a 
Tahitian woman, to be played with till thou hast tired 
of me ; and then be given, with a laugh, to some 
other white man on the ship — as I have seen done ? 
Did I not tell thee once that though I was born in this 
land of Tahiti my mother's mother came from the far 
distant island of Afita — the island that springs up like 
a steep rock from the blue depths of the unknown sea ? 
And by her was my mother taught to despise these 
dog-eaters of Tahiti ; and as my mother was taught, so 
she taught me." 

For the hundredth time since he had fallen under 
the spell of the girl's beauty and succumbed to the 
witchery of her ways and to the sound of her melting 
voice, her white lover again felt that her presence 
would overcome his resolution to part with her and 
return to his hateful duty ; and for the hundredth 
time he struggled to resist a fascination he knev/ 
was fatal. So, not daring to look into the danger- 
depths of her now tear-dimmed eyes, he spoke again 
with seeming calm, but yet his face paled and flushed 
and paled again at the sound of his own cold words. 
He loved her, he said, but how could he escape from 
the ship ? The punishment would be death. 

" Death," she said ; " nay, not so, my lover, but life 



THE IMAGE 7 

for us both. Listen to me, and I will show thee that 
we shall never part again. And heed not the hot 
words of anger that leapt from my heart " ; and then 
with all the eloquence of her passionate nature she 
unfolded to him a plan of escape, and as she spoke her 
eyes and hands and lips came to the aid of her soft, 
low voice. 

"Mahina," and he turned from her abruptly and 
walked to and fro upon the sand, with working face 
and clenched hands, "let this end, girl ; I cannot do as 
you wish." 

"Ah," and again the tender voice became harsh and 
the red spark came into the dark eyes, " then there is 
some painted woman in thine own land whom 
thou lovest — a woman such as is she whom we saw 
on the ship — and it is for her thou hast cast me off." 

"Why, you pretty fool," said the man in English, 
with a laugh, as he took her hand, " are you like your 
mother — offended at a silly jest ? Did not you cry with 
the other girls, ' Huaheine no Peretane tnaitai^ '^ and 
when you were told that it was but a figure of wax 
did you not laugh with them ? " 

"Ay," replied the girl, and her voice had a sullen 
tone, " but how know I that this image, which thou 
sayest was made by one of the sailors of the ship, is 
not the image of one thou lovest in Peretane ? And 
my mother hath told me that this image of the woman 
with the hair like the sun and eyes like the ocean blue 
is carried on the ship as a spell to keep the white 
men's hearts hard to us women of Tahiti." 

' " The Englishwoman is good " (to look at). 



8 THE MUTINEER 

" Nay," said the man, in Tahitian, " I tell thee no 
lies, Mahina ; 'twas but a silly jest of the sailors. The 
thing was the waxen head and shoulders of a woman, and 
the sailors, to make the people laugh, made unto it a 
body and wrapped it in garments and made pretence 
that it was an Englishwoman. Thy countrymen knew 
it was but a jest — but thy mother, who, lacking keen 
vision, for she is old, was foolish enough to believe in 
it ; so when she placed presents of mats and food at its 
feet, all who saw laughed at her ; and because she was 
angered at this hath she told thee this silly tale." 

" Then, if the thing lives not, how is it that the 
man who showed it to our people carries it with 
him?" 

" Thou silly little one ! know that in my country 
there be men who are workers and dressers of men's 
and women's hair, and such images as that which thou 
hast seen are placed outside their dwellings so that 
men may know their trade. And this man on the 
ship dresses and curls and whitens the false heads of 
hair that some of us wear by placing them on the head 
of the image — for then is his task easy." 

" Ah," she said in a whisper, " forgive me ; but tell 
me that thou wilt not leave me." 

" No, no, Mahina, tempt me not again ; it cannot 
be. Good-night. Go to thy mother's house — and try 
to forget me." Then, not daring to look into her 
agonised face, he hurriedly embraced her and walked 
quickly towards the tents. 

" Go," said the girl, as she sank down with her 
black mantle ot hair falling over her shoulders, " go. 



THE IMAGE 9 

then, and see Mahina no more. It is because I am 
not white that thou leavest me here with hunger in 
my heart for thee." And as she heard the sound of 
his footsteps over the loose pebbles some distance away, 
followed by the sentry's challenge, she lay prone upon 
the sand and wet it with a flood of anguished tears. 



CHAPTER II 

THE CUTTING OF THE CABLE 

SCARCE two cables' lengths away from the dark 
fringe of palms which lined the white, shimmer- 
ing beach, the Bounty lay motionless upon the placid, 
reef-sheltered waters of the quiet little bay, her hempen 
cable hanging straight up and down from hawse-pipe to 
anchor, fifteen fathoms below her forefoot. From 
the cabin windows a light in the captain's berth shot a 
dulled gleam upon the darkened water under her 
cumbrous stern, which the bright rays of moonlight 
had not yet touched, for though the moon was full it 
was not high, and the ship lay head to the south-east- 
ward, with her bows toward the verdured slopes 
of Orohena Mountain, whose mist-capped summit 
towered seven thousand feet to the sky. Aloft, the 
ship's black spars stood silhouetted against the snow- 
white canvas bent in readiness for her departure ; for 
in a day or two her long stay at Tahiti would come 
to an end, and the bows of the little barque would be 
turned southward for her voyage to the West Indies. 
In the great cabin, the chief entrance to which was 



THE CUTTING OF THE CABLE ii 

from the main deck, the moon-rays sent a stream of 
li^ht through the open doors, and showed a strange 
sight to see on shipboard. 

Instead of being fitted up like a King's ship, or indeed 
as a merchantman, the whole cabin space was filled 
with young breadfruit plants. Reaching fore and aft 
from the cabin doors to the transoms were five tiers of 
stout shelving, built to receive the pots in which the 
plants were placed ; while sloping upwards towards 
the after part of the quarter deck from the transoms 
themselves were five tiers more. Nearly all the 
plants were fully-leaved, and a stray moonbeam now 
and then pierced its way through them to strike 
against and illumine the dark mahogany doors of the 
rooms on either side of this strangely furnished cabin. 

Nearly nine months before, the Bounty^ of 215 
tons burden, had left Spithead for Tahiti under the 
command of Lieutenant William Bligh, who had been 
sailing-master with the great navigator Cook in the 
Resolution. The ship which Bligh now commanded 
was specially fitted to convey specimens of the bread- 
fruit tree from Tahiti — the Otaheite of Cook — to 
the West Indies, in the hope that the tree would there 
take root and flourish and furnish as bountiful a food 
supply to the negroes of those islands as it did to the 
light, copper-coloured people of the isles of the Pacific. 

Of the forty-six persons who sailed from Spithead 
in the Bounty, all, save Fletcher Christian, the senior 
master's mate, and a guard of four men who were on 
shore, were at that moment on board ; and all, except 
the anchor watch, were deep in slumber. 



12 THE MUTINEER 

Walking to and fro on the forepart of the upper 
deck was Edward Young, a square-built, dark-com- 
plexioned man of twenty-two, and midshipman in 
charge of the watch. For nearly an hour he had 
thus paced the deck, glancing now at cloud-capped 
Orohena, six miles away, and now at the white tents 
of the shore party with the dark figure of the sentry in 
the foreground. Presently he stopped and looked 
intently towards another part of the beach where, an 
hour before, he had seen two figures seated upon a 
canoe which was drawn up on the hard, white sand ; 
they were gone, but his quick eye discerned the smaller 
of the two disappear among the coconut groves 
towards the village of Papawa, while the taller person 
walked quickly over to the largest of the four tents 
and entered it. 

"Ah," he said to himself, and an amused smile 
flitted over his sallow features, "Master Fletcher 
and Mahina, as I thought. He's badly love-smitten 
with that girl ... no wonder he doesn't grumble at 
doing duty over the breadfruit plants on shore, with 
such a woman as that to sit by his side and charm him 
with her sweet prattle. . . . Better to be at that than 
doing this cursed dog-trot up and down in the moon- 
light . . . and yet 'tis dangerous . . . aye, as dangerous 
for him as it is for me to linger among these people so 
long." _ 

He sighed, and then baring his left arm, looked at 
a name tatooed upon it lengthwise ; then with an 
angry gesture of contempt, pulled down his sleeve, and 
resumed his walk to and fro. 



THE CUTTING OF THE CABLE 13 

" Dangerous ! Aye, indeed it is ! Else why should 
I, a King's officer, and as proud a man as Fletcher 
Christian — whom I call a fool — commit such folly as 
this ? What would my fine uncle say did he know that 
I had gone so far as to promise this girl, whose name 
is on my arm, never to leave her. And though I do 
leave her, is it less dishonourable for me to beguile her 
with lies because my skin is white and hers is brown ? 
Well, in a week or so, poor Alrema will have to learn 
to forget me." 

A cool breath of air touched his cheek, and looking 
shoreward he saw the plumed palm-tops swaying 
gently to and fro ; then again a smart puft' rippled 
the glassy surface of the water between the ship and 
the shore and swept seaward ; and Young saw the 
black wall of a rain squall come fleeting down from 
the dark shadow of the mountain. 

Calling to the watch to stand-by, the young officer 
picked up his oil-skin, which one of the men brought 
him, put it on, and waited for the squall to strike the 
ship. Ouickly it loomed down upon the line of palms, 
the black cloud paling to a misty white as it drew 
nearer ; then it rustled, then fiercely shook the waving 
branches and drenched them with an ice-cold shower 
ere it hummed and whistled through the Bounty's 
cordage and sent her sharply astern, to tauten up her 
cable as rigid as an iron bar. 

" Pretty stiff while it lasts, Tom," said one of the 
anchor watch to a messmate, as, ten minutes after- 
wards, the tail end of the squall passed and the bright 
moonlight again played upon the soaking decks. 



14 THE MUTINEER 

" Damme, but I'd like to see a stifFer one come along 
and part the cable, eh ? " 

As the droning hum of the squall ceased and the 
palm branches hung pendulous to rest again, a woman, 
nude, except for the narrow girdle of leaves around her 
waist, raised herself from the foot of a coconut tree 
behind which she had crouched, and looked at the 
ship. In her right hand was an open clasp kjiife. 
She leant her back against the tree and gazed steadily 
at the Bounty for nearly a minute, then with an angry 
exclamation cast the knife from her into the sea. 

" Fool that I was ! Why did I not cut the rope 
through ? Even though the young Jrii had seen me 
he would not have raised his hand to harm me, for he 
too would gladly see the ship cast away and broken 
upon the reef, so that he need not leave my cousin 
Alrema." 

An hour later, when daylight broke, Edward 
Young, after calling the ship's company, again went 
to the bows to take a look at the cable. It was his 
last duty before reporting to his relief that all was 
well, and then turning in. As he peered over the low 
bows of the vessel he saw the hemp cable stretching 
away down into the clear depths of the calm water. 
In a moment his sailor's eye saw that all the strands 
of the cable but one were parted. 

His sallow face turned white, then flushed again, 
and quickly walking aft he knocked at the door of 
the state room occupied by Lieutenant William Bligh. 

" Who is it ? " inquired a sharp, imperious voice ; 
then ere the young man had given his name the cabin 



THE CUTTING OF THE CABLE 15 

door opened and a man of medium height, little more 
than thirty years old, stood facing the midshipman. 
His features were clear cut and refined and of 
singular whiteness — remarkable in one whose occu- 
pation was the sea — and his complexion contrasted 
strikingly with the jet black of his hair. 

" The cable is nearly chafed through, sir, or the 
strands have parted. There was a strong squall just 
before dayligjit and the ship straijicd very heavily upon 
it. I think " 

"Keep your opinions to yourself. You are a damned 
careless fellow, and not fit even to keep anchor watch. 
Where is it chafed r " 

" About a fathom below the water, sir," answered 
the young man with an unsteady voice and an angry 
gleam in his dark eyes. " When I looked just now it 
was tautened out, and I saw that only one strand 
remained." 

" Bah," said the commander with a contemptuous 
laugh; "and you have the audacity to attempt to 
screen your carelessness by telling me it has chafed — 
a couple of fathoms down from the hawse-pipe and in 
fifteen fathoms of water ! The fact is, some of the 
natives have been off in a canoe and cut it under your 
nose. You ought to have prevented it. Were you 
asleep on your watch, Mr. Young ? Answer me 
quickly." 

" I was not, sir," answered the young man quietly, 
steadying his voice ; "and I will swear that no canoe 
has come near the ship since I took charge of the deck. 
I believe she brought up to her anchor so suddenly 



i6 THE MUTINEER 

during the squall that the jerk caused the cable to 
part." 

" That will do. I will see to this matter myself. 
You are all alike — every one of you. There is not an 
officer in the ship that I can trust. Order my boat 
away." 

The angry, red flush in the commander's pale 
cheeks and the steady glitter in his light blue eyes 
boded ill to the young officer, whose own dark features 
were dyed deep with repressed passion ; but by a 
powerful effort he overcame the desire to hurl back 
his superior officer's taunts, and saluting the captain 
with a hand which trembled with rage, he withdrew. 

In a quarter of an hour Bligh stepped out of his boat 
on to the beach. Before he had walked a dozen paces 
he was met with smiles of welcome by Moana and 
Tina, two of the leading chiefs, as had ever been the 
case during the many weeks of the Bounty s stay at the 
island. 

But instead of the outstretched hand of friendship 
the angry officer gave them but a cold inclination of 
his head, and passed them by. At the entrance to 
the principal tent stood Fletcher Christian, who 
saluted as the commander approached. 

"Mr. Christian," and the moment the master's 
mate heard the sharp, fierce ring in his captain's tones, 
his jaw set firmly and his eye looked steadily into 
Bligh's, " Mr. Christian, the cable has been cut. 
Most providentially, however, despite the criminal 
negligence of Mr. Young, the officer of the watch, 
one strand was not severed. That, fortunately, held 



THE CUTTING OF THE CABLE [7 

the ship ; otherwise she would now be lying on 
the reef. I am determined that the culprit shall 
be found and made an example of — as, by God ! he 
shall." 

" Very good, sir. Shall I send word for Tina and 
the other chiefs to come to you ? " 

"Why so, sir ? What reason have you to jump to 
the conclusion that this piece of villainy is the work of 
the natives ? " 

"I cannot imagine, sir, who else should be 
suspected." 

"That is a matter of opinion. I have mine. But 
as you have made the suggestion I will at least 
put your uncalled-for suspicions to the test of 
investigation." 

" Pardon me, sir " began Christian, when Bligh 

cut him short with an imperious gesture. 

"Send for Tina." 

In another minute a tall, stout, but handsome native 
whose speaking countenance expressed the most timid 
deference and respect, joined the captain and Chris- 
tian. 

"Tina," said Bligh, fixing his keen eyes upon the 
chief's face, which already showed the deepest 
concern, " what does this mean ? My ship's cable 
has been cut. Some of your people have done it. 
Let them be found instantly." 

Like the simple child of nature that he was, the 
chief clasped his hands beseechingly together, and the 
quick tears welled up into his dark eyes ere he could 
speak. 

3 



1 8 THE MUTINEER 

" What man is there of mine, oh friend of Tuti ^ and 
friend of Tina, who would do thee or thine such wrong 
as this ? " and then with the utmost distress depicted 
on his face he beckoned to him a fine, handsome 
woman of about thirty, and hurriedly spoke a few 
words to her. As she quickly walked away to do his 
bidding, he turned to Bligh, and in pleading accents 
besought him to wait a little till his wife Aitia 
returned. 

The captain of the Bounty nodded, seated himselr 
upon a stool which the sentry brought to him, and 
waited. The chief's house was but a short distance 
from the tents and soon the woman returned carrying 
with her a framed picture of a naval officer. It was a 
portrait of Captain Cook, painted by Webber in 1777, 
which the great navigator had presented to the 
Tahitians, and which they treated with as much 
reverence as if it were a god. 

" See," said the chief, taking the picture from 
Aitia's hand, and the accents of perfect truth rang in 
his voice, "see, this is Tuti," and he held it out 
towards the two officers ; " would I, Tina, whom he 
knew as Umu - his friend, and whose eyes love to look 
upon this, his face which speaketh not, would I tell 
thee lies ? Nay, oh chief, it is my mind that none of 
my people have done this thing ; but yet who can tell 
the wickedness that cometh into the hearts of men at 
times ? And so now will I speak and seek if there 
be a man among my people with such an evil heart, 
and if there be then will I myself slay him before 

' Cook. " His former name of Umu had devolved upon his son. 



THE CUTTING OF THE CABLE 19 

thee, so that the bitterness that is in my heart and 
thine shall die away and be forgotten." 

And then, before the officer could frame a reply to 
the chiefs impassioned speech, Aitia was at his feet, 
the tears streaming down her face while she repeated 
her husband's protestations of love and affection for all 
who came from the land of Peretane. 

The earnest manner of the chief had its effect upon 
the quick, impulsive temper of Bligh — a man who 
could change in a moment from the violence of 
intemperate passion to the most winning amiability of 
manner. 

In more gentle tones he replied that he was satisfied 
that Tina would do his best to discover who had cut the 
cable, although if the culprit were found he hoped he 
would not go so far in punishing him as to take his 
life. Then he turned to Christian, and altering the 
suave tone in which he had addressed the chief, curtly 
ordered him to take the boat's crews and load the 
boats with plants. 

Merely touching his hat, the master's mate repeated 
the order to the coxswain of the boat near by and 
turned away. 

In an instant Bligh's pale cheek flushed angrily, and 
he sprang to his feet. 

" What the devil do you mean by receiving my 
order in that manner ? Why don't you answer me 
when I address you ? By heavens, sir, I will teach you 
the respect due to your superior officer ! " 

Christian turned and faced him ; and Bligh, hot 
and furious as was his mood now, could not but notice 



20 THE MUTINEER 

the repressed passion in his eyes and the paleness that 
blanched his tanned cheeks, and realise that Fletcher 
Christian was not a man to drive to desperation. 

For a moment the younger man did not answer, 
then the pallor of his countenance purpled with the 
sudden rush of blood to his face, the thick black eye- 
brows came together and his forehead showed two 
deep furrows as he replied — and in his voice there was 
no attempt to disguise the bitterness of heart within 
him — 

" I treat you, sir, with all the respect that the rules 
of the Service demand; with the same courtesy" — and 
here his tones rang with contemptuous sarcasm — " I 
answer you as you show to me. Nothing, sir, shall 
induce me to forget that I am compelled by my duty 
to adopt that courtesy and respect. But, sir, beyond 
that I will take care to be no more civil to you than 
your treatment of me demands or justifies." 

"Beware, sir; you are treading on dangerous 
ground — you are mutinous ! I've half a mind to 
make a prisoner of you and keep you under arrest until 
we reach England. By heavens, sir, Fll stand none 
of your insolence and misconduct ! You and every 
other officer of the ship shall be brought up to the 
mark and learn your duties." 

But the master's mate made no reply, and walked 
quietly away after the boat's crew ; and Bligh, his 
frame trembling with passion, went towards the house 
of Tina the chief. 

Aided by the willing hands of the natives, men and 
women, who had stood by listening with deep concern 



THE CUTTING OF THE CABLE 21 

to the angry discussion between the two officers, the 
boats' crews soon loaded their boats, and Christian was 
left alone. Suddenly he felt a hand placed upon his 
and a voice murmured — 

" Kirisiani, dost know who cut the rope ? " 

He started, and turned to meet the beautiful face of 
the girl he had talked with during the night. 

" Hush, Mahina, tell me not, else must I tell his 
name to the captain — and that means death." 

She laughed. "Thou knowest that it was I who 
did it. And yet tell of it if thou so desirest. What 
is death to me, my beloved, if thou leavest me ? Listen 
— I will tell thee all. So that I might keep thee near 
me always, and my eyes look into thine, from sunrise 
to dark, and my hand lie in thine through the silence 
of the night, I swam to the ship as the wind and rain 
swept down from the dark valleys of Orohena, and 
cut the rope." 

" Mahina, Mahina, 'twas well for thee that the 
chief of the ship is no friend of mine — even now 
hot words passed between us — else would I tell him 
'twas thee. With us, who are servants of the King of 
Britain, no woman's love must count — our love to 
him is first of all. Forget that thou hast ever seen 
me." 

She flung her arms round his neck and drew his 
face down to hers. " Thou art mine — if thou leavest 
in the ship then will I curse thee and die." 

Ere he could say more, with an angry sob she had 
gone. 



CHAPTER III 

WHITE MEN AND BROWN WOMEN 

TWO days had passed, and now as the departure 
of the ship drew near the natives redoubled 
their kindnesses to the Bounty's people. Christian, 
with his morbid mind brooding over the scene 
between himself and his commander, did his duty in 
a dull, mechanical way and scarce spoke even to 
Edward Young, the one man to whom his gloomy 
nature sometimes relaxed. The parting, too, between 
Mahina and himself had had its effect upon him and 
he now clearly saw that, untutored savage as she was, 
she was yet a tender, loving woman whose heart he 
had cruelly tortured. " But," he reasoned with him- 
self, "it cannot be helped. She will never see me 
again, poor child. She will soon cast me out of her 
memory." 

A mile or two away from where the Bounty rode at 
anchor, at a little village called Torea, Mahina and 
Nuia, the handsome sister of Tina the chief, sat to- 
gether with their arms clasped round each other's 
waists. Mahina's eyes were wet with tears, but yet 



WHITE MEN AND BROWN WOMEN 23 

there was shining through them the light of radiant 
happiness. 

" See, Nuia, how I have wronged thee ! Always, 
always was my heart wrung by the idle words of those 
who said that Kirisiani wavered in his love between 
thee and mc." 

Nuia laughed, and her bright, starlilce eyes looked 
honestly into those of her friend. 

" It is false. True, I once coveted him ; but soon 
I saw it was for thee alone that he cared. And then 
it was that Stcua ^ told me he loved me, and 'tis he 
alone that I care for now ; and gladly will I help thee 
to keep thy lover, even as do I desire to keep mine. 
And listen now, while I tell thee how this shall be 
done." 

Then Nuia told her friend how some of the sea- 
men with whom the women had tender relations had 
declared for days their intention of deserting to the 
mountains and there remaining until the Bounty sailed. 
The women had promised to assist them, even though 
they knew Tina would resent the act bitterly. They 
trusted, however, that after Bligh was gone, the chief's 
love for his sister would procure their pardon. Only 
the previous day Nuia and Alrema and two other girls 
named Ohuna and Ahi, who were devoted to two 
seamen named Millward and Churchill, had arranged 
to steal the ship's cutter during the night, land some 
miles down the coast where they would be met by 
Nuia and her companions, and make their way over 
the mountains to Taravao — the peninsula that con- 
' George Stewart, midshipman. 



24 THE MUTINEER 

nects the district of Taiarapu with Tahiti. Here they 
were to conceal themselves till " the wrath of Tina 
had ceased." 

" To-night, oh friend of my heart," said Nuia, 
placing her cheek against the bare bosom of her 
friend and embracing her lovingly, " this shall be 
done. Alrema's lover, Etuati, who hateth the chief of 
the ship as bitterly as does thy Kirisiani, to-night 
again keepeth the watch. He hath taken the hands 
of these men in his and sworn to turn away his face 
when they steal the boat ; and to-night, perhaps, 
will my Steua escape from the ship and come to 
me. Then, one by one, all those of the white men 
that hate to leave this land of ours will hide away, and 
the Arii Pirai ' will trouble not, for in Taravao it 
will be hard for him to seek them ? " 

A fierce light shone in Mahina's eyes. " True, how 
could he ? And yet it would please me better could I 
see Pirai dead. For ever is he saying bitter words to 
the man I love." 

Nuia looked at her companion for a moment, then 
rose, and, going to a corner of the house, reached her 
hand up to the thatch ; then she took down a pistol 
and gave it to her friend. 

" See, this is the little gun that Pirai the captain gave 
to my brother Tina. To-night Alrema gives it to her 
lover, who hath sworn to kill Pirai some day for the 
foul words he ever gives him, even as he speaks foul 
words to thy lover." 

Then the two girls separated — Nuia to give the 

' Captain Bligh. 



WHITE MEN AND BROWN WOMEN 25 

pistol into Alrema's hand for Young, and Mahina to 
watch for her lover, should Christian come ashore in 
the evening. 

At one o'clock next morning Edward Young was 
again keeping anchor watch. It was dark and rainy 
and no one else was to be seen on deck but the sentry 
— ^John Millward. Presently Young felt a hand on 
liis shoulder, and heard the voice of Churchill, the 
ship's corporal — " Mr. Young ! " 

" For heaven's sake be careful, Churchill ! Are 
you all ready ? " 

" Yes, we've got the second cutter alongside. 
Muspratt is in her. We've eight muskets and six 
bags of powder and ball. Five of the muskets and 
some ammunition will be hidden by Alrema, who 
will be watching for you to escape. Why don't you 
come now, sir r There are half a dozen others ready 
to do so ! " 

" No, no, not now. I must get away alone. 
Alrema will let you know when." 

" Goodbye, sir," whispered Churchill. 

The midshipman pressed his hand, and the corporal 
stepped softly along the deck, till he reached the spot 
v/here Millward the sentry stood, peering anxiously 
out into the gloom which enveloped the ship. A 
quick gesture from Churchill, and the two figures 
dropped quietly over the side and were gone. 

For some minutes Young looked for the boat 
through the darkness, as those in her pulled with 
muffled oars towards the shore. 

" That's satisfactory," muttered the young man to 



26 THE MUTINEER 

himself; " that's something for our amiable and worthy 
commander to think over at breakfast." 

Lieutenant Bligh did think over it at breakfast ; 
and soon Young was in irons and awaiting a pro- 
mised flogging for " being asleep on his watch and 
allowing the damned scoundrels to desert," as his 
commander forcibly expressed it. 

Four days afterwards, as Christian made his rounds 
of the ship he came upon Young, still in leg irons, 
waiting, with deadly hatred in his heart, for Bligh to 
visit him. 

In the bosom of his shirt lay Tina's pistol, and as 
the figures of Christian and a seaman darkened the 
entrance to the stuffy cabin his fingers clutched the 
weapon savagely. 

" They are all taken, Young," muttered his superior 
oflScer ; "they gave themselves up to Bligh this morn- 
ing, and are now on board. I wish with all my heart 
I could set you free, for Bligh swears he will flog you." 

"And I swear, Christian, that he shall die if he 
attempts it. My God ! are we Englishmen or slaves ? " 

Christian shook his head gloomingly, and with a 
pitying look at the young man, went on deck, passing 
on his way the manacled figures of the three captured 
men. They lay together in the sail locker, their 
backs raw and bleeding from the four dozen lashes 
which they had each received in the morning. 

Their dreams of and dash for liberty had been 
brief. Landing at the spot agreed upon, Nuia and 
her two friends, Ohuna and Ahi, met them with the 
warmest demonstrations of affection and loyalty ; then 



WHITE MEN AND BROWN WOMEN 27 

they learned with alarm that Oripah and Tamiri, two 
of Tina's subsidiary chiefs, had forbidden the people in 
any way to aid or shelter them ; and that Tina himself 
had bitterly reproached his sister Nuia for her share in 
the conspiracy — for by some means the whole plan of 
escape had been made known to him. Then after a 
hurried discussion the three deserters, accompanied by 
Ahi and another girl named Tahinia, set out again for 
Tetuaroa, a group of low-lying coral islands twenty- 
eight miles from where the Bounty lay. There they 
hoped to be free from interference ; for the chief of 
the islands, Miti, was related to Tahinia. 

But when half-way across a furious squall drove 
them back to the mainland. Landing at a village 
called Tetaha the deserters remained hidden till they 
were surprised by Bligh and a boat's crew ; and although 
they were prepared to fight to the last, the girls, to 
their surprise, begged them to surrender. 

" Milwa," said Nuia to Millward, the moment they 
saw Bligh approaching, accompanied by his boat's 
crew and Tina, " waste neither these men's blood nor 
thine. Yield — and I, Nuia, swear that the ship shall 
not take thee away." 

Relying on the repeated assurances of the girls, 
who wept in the earnestness of their beseechings, the 
three deserters came out of the house and stood before 
Bligh and his party. 

" Surrender, you villains ! " he cried. 

" Aye, aye, sir, we surrender," answered Churchill ; 
and under his breath he said to his companions — " to 
be free again before long." 



28 THE MUTINEER 

When the men were brought on board, Bligh, 
whose face was livid with passion, turned to Fletcher 
Christian. 

" Muster the hands, Mr. Christian. I'll show you 
and the others like you whether I will tolerate this 
spirit of mutiny and disregard of my orders." 

Then in sullen silence the ship's company were 
mustered on the main deck to witness the flogging of 
the deserters. 

As the bleeding form of Muspratt, the last to be 
punished, and the greatest sufferer, was led away from 
the gratings, one of the boatswain's mates named 
Morrison said to the midshipman Stewart in a low 
voice : " I'm glad, sir, I wasn't picked on to flog poor 
Bill Muspratt. My God, sir, how long is this to go 
on ? The men are bordering on mutiny. Last night 
the captain took away every present of food given to 
us by the natives and said that it was his, and that 
every one on the ship, from the master down, was a 
damned thief." 

Stewart gave him a warning glance as he answered 
in a whisper : " Don't talk to me, Morrison ; if the 
captain sees you it means the cat." 

Ten minutes later, as Christian was employed in 
hoisting in the cutter, Bligh's imperious tones were 
heard asking for him. 

" Mr. Christian," said the captain, walking up to 
where the master's mate stood, and his voice quivered 
with rage, " I find that you had the audacity to send 
a coconut to that scoundrel Young to drink just now. 
By the Lord, sir, do you want me to send you to join 



WHITE MEN AND BROWN WOMEN 29 

him ? " And then with a passionate gesture he 
turned on his heel and again sought his cabin. 

The master's mate, with blazing eyes and face 
white with anger, turned and looked at the seamen 
who stood around him with their hands on the boat- 
falls. Not a word escaped his lips, but in their eyes 
he read their dangerous sympathy. 

That night Bligh slept ashore at Tina's house, and 
when all but the anchor watch were asleep a canoe 
glided gently alongside, and Mahina and Alrema 
stepped on deck and were met by their lovers. 
Young had secretly been released from his irons by 
Christian the moment Bligh had left the ship. For 
some hours the four conversed earnestly together, then 
just as the first grey streaks of dawn began to pierce 
the horizon the girls embraced the two men tenderly 
and went quietly back to their canoe. 

Down below, as Christian was replacing the hand- 
cuffs on Young's wrists, the midshipman gripped his 
companion's arm. 

" Christian," he said, " as God is my judge I intend 
to keep faith with that girl, even if it costs me my life ; 
and vou, Christian, are you made of stone ? Can you 
leave Mahina — to lead such a life as we are made to 
live ? " 

The master's mate dashed Young's arm aside. 
" For God's sake, man, don't ask me. My brain is 
on fire," and for a minute or two he walked quickly 
to and fro, seemingly oblivious of the other's presence. 
Then he stopped suddenly and faced Young with a 
short, bitter laugh. 



30 THE MUTINEER 

" That all depends on what happens. If BHgh 
treats me as a man ... I will pocket his past 
insults . . . and prove a cruel, heartless scoundrel 
to that poor girl. If he does not . . ." 

He finished the sentence with a gesture of despair, 
and went on deck. 



CHAPTER IV 



cc 



THE FIRST SAILING OF THE "BOUNTY 

THE time to say farewell had come at last, and 
from early dawn the beach was crowded with 
natives. For two days the genial, kindhearted people 
had entertained their white friends with their simple 
sports, and the crew of the Bounty — save for those 
who lay ironed and sweltering in her 'tween decks — 
were given liberty by their stern captain. Sometimes 
in the midst of the mirth and song that prevailed 
during the hivas or dancing of the natives, strange 
spells of silence would fall, and Tina the chief and his 
stately wife would, with tears streaming from their eyes, 
leave the assembled throng and retire to their house. 
Tender-hearted, simple, and affectionate, they had con- 
ceived for Bligh, despite his occasional outbursts of 
passion and his severe treatment of the ship's company, 
a sincere and lasting respect ; and that evening, when he 
came ashore dressed in his full uniform, with his sword 
by his side, smiling in that engaging manner which 
seemed so natural to him at times, even those few of 
the natives who feared and disliked him for his 

31 



32 THE MUTINEER 

tyranny, demonstrated at least their respect for his rank 
and position in the most marked and earnest manner. 

Long past midnight the singing and dancing con- 
tinued, and Bligh, as he stood on the beach, grasping 
the hands of Tina and Aitia in his, was content. 
Nearly two-thirds of his crew were ashore, and now 
as he stood there watching he saw them taking fare- 
well of their native friends, who with the most extra- 
vagant demonstrations of sorrow, begged them to 
remain till the morning. He had no suspicion that 
this was assumed and that nearly half of his men had 
whispered to some taio (male friend) or pretty girl, 
" We will return soon." 

" Good-night," he said to the chief, holding out his 
white hand again, "good-night, Tina and Aitia. 
Remember that to-morrow, soon after daylight, we 
sail. Yet I shall be pleased to see you in the morn- 
ing." 

Then the boatswain's whistle sounded for the men 
to return to the boats, and amid the weeping of those 
of the islanders who did not know what Mahina and 
the other women knew, Bligh and his men called out 
their farewells and pulled towards the ship. 

But with the first signs of dawn, those on board, 
looking shoreward, saw a vast concourse of natives on 
that part of the beach nearest the Bounty; and every 
few minutes numbers of people of both sexes were 
arriving through the palm-groves from inland villages, 
carrying gifts of fruit and native clothing, intended 
as parting presents for the voyagers. The waters, too, 
of the little bay were alive with canoes ; many of them 



THE FIRST SAILING OF THE "BOUNTY" 33 

had come from the distant villages of Taiarapu, a 
day's journey, laden to the water's edge with simple 
tokens of affection for Bligh and his crew. As the 
canoes passed under the Bounty s stern on their way to 
the shore the people in them were much affected 
when they noted the unmistakable signs of the ship's 
departure. They had daily heard for a month past 
from Bligh 'himself that he hoped to sail on the 
following day, but the continued delays seemed to 
have inspired them with hope ; the Bounty's people, 
they believed, had become so attached to their island 
friends that they could not part from them, and it was 
even possible, to their simple minds, that Bligh would 
abandon the mission on which he was sent by the 
unknown King of England. 

Sitting a little apart from the others and apparently 
taking no heed of the bustle around them, the girls 
Mahina and Nuia conversed with each other in low 
tones. Alrema, although accused by Tina of helping 
his sister in aiding the seamen to desert, had been 
forgiven, and was just then, with Aitia, conveying to 
Bligh a farewell present of two handsome par ah or 
mourning dresses, which were to be given to King 
George. 

" Mahina," and Nuia placed her hand on her friend's 
shoulder, " all will yet be well. Why look so sad ? 
Dost thou doubt our lovers' promises ? See, only a 
little while ago, Alrema went on board to see her 
lover Etuati — he who is now bound with iron rings 
on his hands and feet — and this he said to her : 'Tell 
those that love us that we will return to Tahiti ere a 

4 



34 THE MUTINEER 

moon has passed.' Come, my friend, let us go to the 
ship for the last time." 

By this time the Bounty was surrounded by hundreds 
of canoes, and her decks were thronged with natives 
who, each man singling out his particular taio., or v/hite 
friend, pressed upon his acceptance some farewell gift. 
Bligh, standing on the quarter deck, was conversing 
with Aitia and her husband, and behind him stood a 
boatswain's mate holding in his arms two muskets and 
two pistols, with bags of powder and ball. These 
were a gift from the commander to Aitia, whose skill 
as a markswoman rendered the gift specially pleasing 
and valuable. 

Raising his hat, and addressing her as if she were 
some great English lady, the captain of the Bounty said 
that the gifts were in token of his own personal liking 
for her and her husband, and as a proof of the friend- 
ship of the king of Great Britain. Then, while a 
respectful silence fell upon every one on board, the 
stately Aitia touched her forehead with the weapons 
one after another, and flinging herself at Bligh's 
feet clasped them in her hands and wept. 

Gently disengaging her hands the commander 
straightened his slender figure, and his sharp tones 
rang out : " Clear the decks, Mr. Christian ; and you, 
Tina, ask your people to get into their canoes. Aitia, 
goodbye ; Tina, goodbye." 

Christian, who had just bidden a hurried, passionate 
farewell to Mahina, sprang to the ship's forecastle and 
then some of the seamen manned the little capstan ; 
the fiddler took his seat upon its head and scraped a 



THE FIRST SAILING OF THE "BOUNTY" 35 

dismal tune, every now and then breaking off in the 
middle of a bar to wave his bow to some Tahitian 
friend whom he knew, as he or she went over the side 
to a canoe. The ship was already hove short ; and a 
few fathoms of the great hemp cable flaked upon the 
deck soon brought the anchor to the cathead. The 
topsails bellied out as the wind filled them ; the men 
sprang aloft to man the yards at the word of command 
from Bligh, who had explained to Tina that with this 
ceremony and the firing of guns the ships of King 
George saluted the sovereigns of other nations ; but as 
the gun-firing might injure the breadfruit plants on 
board it would be omitted. The sailors aloft gave a 
last cheer, the water began to ripple and bubble under 
the bluiF bows of the Bounty and from the crowd of 
sorrowing people burst a cry of " loarana no ti atua 
t't " (" May the gods protect thee for ever and 
ever"). 

A pufF rippled across the bay, the ship lay over to it 
and sped quickly towards the passage between the roar- 
ing lines of surf which leapt and seethed upon the 
shelving ledges of coral reef. In another five minutes 
the vessel's bows rose and fell to the sweep of the ocean 
swell, and the Bounty stood out into the open sea. 

Then those who watched from the shore saw her 
square her yards and head to the south, for Bligh 
intended to call at the Friendly Islands before proceed- 
ing to the West Indies. Hour after hour, and still the 
people watched the lessening canvas of the ship sink 
below the horizon. Towards noon the breeze failed, 
gnd not till the green shadows of the mountains turned 



36 THE MUTINEER 

into a soft purple under the rays of the setting sun was 
the white speck lost to sight. 

Then Mahina and Nuia, who were the last to go, 
turned sadly away and went home to their dwellings 
of thatch to wait and hope. 



CHAPTER V 



THE LAST STRAW 



FOR thirteen days the Bounty had sailed westward 
over a placid sea, the light south-east trades 
which filled her canvas scarce causing more than a 
noiseless ripple under her forefoot. On the morning of 
the fourteenth day she sailed through a cluster of low- 
lying, richly-verdured islands — the Namulca Group, 
and dropped her anchor in ten fathoms, in the clear, 
motionless waters of a reef-enclosed spot oflF the main 
island. The day was beautifully fine but intensely 
hot, and the dying wind gave the ship scarcely way 
enough to bring her to an anchor. 

In a very short time Bligh had opened communica- 
tion with the natives of Namuka — a fierce, muscular 
race, who, however, professed friendship, agreeing to 
let him procure such supplies as he wanted from the 
island, and promising their assistance in wooding and 
watering the ship. The calm and dignified manner 
of the commander seemed to impress the savage, in- 
tractable, and treacherous Tongans as it had tiie gentle 

37 



38 THE MUTINEER 

and kindly-natured Tahitians ; and Bligh again 
showed those peculiar phases of his character which 
made him treat even the most dangerous natives 
with humanity and forbearance, and yet toward his 
officers and crew behave with undeserved, terrible 
severity. 

As soon as the captain returned on board, in sharp, 
fretful tones he ordered the boats away ; one under the 
command of Mr. Nelson, the botanist, and another 
with Christian in charge, to wood and water the ship. 

For some hours the work went on without inter- 
ference, till the natives, all of whom were armed with 
spears, clubs, and slings, began to surround the white 
men and steal everything they could lay their hands 
upon. Some of them actually took the casks of water 
from Christian's men and rolled them away into the 
coconut groves. Every moment their demeanour 
became more threatening and their insulting gestures 
and language were so unmistakable that Christian got 
his men together in order to cover the boats, and 
then paused irresolutely as to his next course of action. 
For Bligh had given orders that no matter how the 
natives behaved they were not to be molested, and on 
no excuse were they to be fired upon. 

In a few minutes their numbers had so increased 
that they began to show signs of making a rush upon 
Christian's scanty force, evidently mistaking his for- 
bearance for fear ; and soon some hundreds of them 
attempted to cut him off from the boats. It was only 
at this juncture that he gave orders to fire a volley 
over the heads of the now advancing and yelling body 



THE LAST STRAW 39 

of savages. To this they responded with derisive 
jeers, shaking their spears and clubs and calling out 
'' Mate ! mati ! " ("Kill! kill!"). 

With great difficulty Christian got his men back 
into the boats without injury being inflicted on either 
side, and reported himself to Bligh, who severely 
reprimanded him. 

Wiping the beads of perspiration from his face, the 
young man replied to his commander's censure : " It 
is impossible, sir, to carry on the duty unless some 
steps are taken to prevent the landing party from 
being cut ofF by the natives." 

" You are a damned cowardly lot of fellows ! " 
sneered Bligh ; " and is it possible that you, Mr. 
Christian, an officer in the King's Service, are afraid of 
a troop of savages while you and your men have fire- 
arms ? " 

Christian's face paled and his limbs shook as if in a 
fit of ague : " Our arms are of no avail, sir, while you 
forbid their use." 

" Carry on the work and don't attempt to argue 
with me," was the contemptuous answer. 

So with wrath eating his heart out Christian went 
back to his task, and by almost superhuman endurance 
and forbearance managed to complete the wooding 
and watering of the ship. 

At last the work was finished, and the Bounty once 
more at sea, and on the afternoon of the 26th of April 
she lay becalmed between Namuka and the island of 
Tofoa, whose sharp-pointed volcanic cone could be 
seen thirty miles away, with thin blue curls of smoke 



40 THE MUTINEER 

ascending from its hidden fires into the windless 
atmosphere, while the sea was of glassy calmness and 
the ship drifted steadily to the eastward. 

Pacing to and fro upon the quarter deck, with the 
red fury spot showing upon his pale cheeks, the 
captain presently said, in his quick, angry way, as his 
eye glanced along the deck — 

" Morrison, send Mr. Christian here." 

It was Fletcher Christian's watch on deck, and he 
at once responded. 

" Mr. Christian, what has become of the pile of 
drinking coconuts which was stowed between the 
guns ? Some scoundrel has taken them. I demand 
to know who was the person ! " 

" I cannot tell you, sir, what has become of them." 

" You mean you will not. By heavens, sir, you 
shall ! I have no doubt that whoever took them did 
so with the sanction of the officers." 

A lump rose in Christian's throat and his voice 
sounded hoarsely. 

" I think, sir, that you are mistaken." 

" We shall see ! Pass the word for all the officers 
to come on deck." 

In a few minutes they were all assembled, and 
Bligh, now in a fever heat of unreasoning passion, 
attacked them in the same manner. For some seconds 
no one answered ; then Fryer the master, and Christian 
and Young assured him each in turn that they had 
not seen any of the men take the coconuts. 

"Then," said Bligh, and his thin, clean-cut lips 
curled contemptuously, "you have taken them your- 



THE LAST STRAW 41 

selves ! Mr. Elphinstone," turning to the junior 
master's mate, " bring every coconut in the ship on 
deck." 

" Now," went on Bligh, as four or five seamen 
came on the poop carrying bunches of coconuts, 
which they placed in heaps on the deck, " please tell 
me, each of you, which of these heaps you individually 
claim." 

The officers spoke in turn, and then but one heap of 
coconuts remained — that belonging to Christian. 

" Is this yours, Mr. Christian ? " said Bligh, in a 
voice trembling with passion. 

" I really do not know, sir. It is difficult to tell 
one pile of coconuts from another ; but I hope you 
don't think me mean enough to steal yours." 

" By God, sir, I do ! You must have stolen these 
from me or you could give a better account of them ! 
You infernal rascals ! You are all thieves alike and 
combine with the men to rob me. I will flog you all 
and make some of you jump overboard before we reach 
Endeavour Straits." 

Calling Samuel his clerk, Bligh ordered all the grog 
to be stopped, and only half a pound of yams to be 
served to each officer's mess in the future — and a 
quarter of a pound only if a single yam was missed. 
And then, his handsome features distorted with rage, 
and muttering curses, he turned upon his heel and 
went below. 

The officers stood and eyed each other with anger 
and amazement, and began to complain audibly ; but 
Christian, with a strange look in his dark eyes, ordered 



42 THE MUTINEER 

them in a hoarse and broken voice, some to their 
duty, others to their watch below. 

When eight bells struck he was relieved by the 
master and went to his cabin. 

And Edward Young, as he watched Fletcher 
Christian pass him, with his hands clenched and his 
face blanched to a deathly white, smiled to himself and 
said, " It is the last straw." 



CHAPTER VI 



THE RUBICON 



WHEN Christian reached his cabin he threw 
himself upon his ssa-chest — almost the only 
article of furniture that the place contained — and 
cursed aloud his wretched existence. He thought of 
the long voyage before him, each day wearisome 
enoi'gh even if spent in agreeable companionship with 
his fellows, but a very purgatory with such a man as 
Bligh to goad him every hour with foul language 
and petty insults. 

His gloomy reflections were broken in upon by a 
Voice asking permission for the speaker to enter. 

"What do you want ? " he asked angrily. 

A seaman drew aside the canvas screen. 

" The captain sends his compliments, sir, ana 
requests the pleasure of your company to supper." 

Christian sprang to his feet, his face flaming with 
passion. " Tell him to go to the devil and take his 
supper in the only company he is fit for." 

Alexander Smith, the sailor who had brought the 
message, for a moment stared in astonishment, yet 

43 



44 THE MUTINEER 

waited in respectful silence. This was the first time 
during all the long voyage that an officer had so far 
forgotten himself as to express his feelings about the 
commander before a common seaman. With the 
seamen themselves such outbursts were frequent 
enough, but here was an officer — the senior master's 
mate, the third man in rank in the ship — ordering a 
common sailor to tell his commander to go to the 
devil, the only fit company for him ! 

Smith was a young man of twenty-two, the son of 
a Thames lighterman ; but he had been born with 
brains, and had taught himself to read and write, 
while his mother had brought him up to do his duty 
and respect his superiors in that old fashion which is 
good. This was his first voyage in a King's ship, 
but he knew what was due from Christian to his 
commander. 

So, instead of smiling, either openly or covertly, at 
Christian's rage, he thought for a moment, pulled 
awkwardly at a lock of his hair, gave a slight cough, 
and said — 

" Begging your pardon, Mr. Christian, did you say 
that I was to tell the captain you felt too poorly, and 
kindly asked to be excused ? " 

Christian glanced quickly at him, and then forgot 
his anger. The sailor was not much to look at, a 
strongly-built fellow below the middle height, with 
his face pitted deeply from the effects of small-pox, 
and his naked chest disfigured with tatoo marks — a 
coarse, rough seaman in dress and appearance, a 
gentleman in instincts — and, above all, a man. 



THE RUBICON +5 

" Smith, you're a good fellow to bring me up with a 
round turn like that ! Give me your hand, and deliver 
your own message, and accept my gratitude ! " And 
the officer grasped the sailor's hand and wrung it 
warmly. 

" Aye, aye, sir," and Smith's honest tones 
trembled with pleasure, for he liked and respected 
the young man, and felt proud of having thus won 
his confidence. " A few months longer, sir, and it'll 
be all serene with us." Then, with a respectful 
salute, he was gone. 

The master's mate sat down again on the chest, 
and leant his cheek upon his hands. The last words 
of Smith — " a few months longer " — had once more 
set his brooding mind to work. 

He rose to his feet again ; the close, hot atmosphere 
of his stuffy quarters seemed to oppress and choke him, 
and his brain was dulled and aching with the misery in 
his heart. He stepped out, and, gaining the deck 
quietly, leant upon the bulwarks and looked moodily 
over the star-lit ocean to where the steep cone of 
Tofoa upreared its darkened form three thousand feet 
in the air. It was the first dog-watch, when on ship- 
board men sing and make merry ; but on this ship 
came no sounds of violin or choruses of seamen, for 
all, officers and men alike, were sullen and gloomy, 
and brooded over the incidents of the past few 
days. 

The wind was very light, and the ship scarce held 
steerage way ; everything was still, and the grave- 
like silence oppressed the man. Now and then a 



46 THE MUTINEER 

gleam of red, smoky flame would flash in the sky to 
the eastward, and a strange, dulled muttering would be 
borne over the waters as the raging forces pent up in 
black Tofoa boiled and seethed within its groaning 
heart. The sight possessed a fascination for him, and 
for nearly half an hour he stood and watched the 
shooting dull-red flame and listened to the awful 
sounds which broke from the mountain in the 
violence of its convulsions. 

Presently he changed his attitude of dejection, and 
his eye lightened. 

"Ten miles away," he muttered, gazing at the 
dark shape of Tofoa, "and there are beaches on the 
west side where landing is easy, and a network of low 
islets within another six leagues. By heavens, I'll risk 
it ! Anything is better than this — better, even, the 
jaws of a shark ! " 

He went quietly forward and collected a number of 
boat-oars and some hand-spikes from the racks ; these 
he brought to a place in the after part of the ship, 
where he was not likely to be seen, and began to lash 
them together. 

He was interrupted suddenly by Young. "What 
the h — 1 are you doing. Christian ? " 

"I am making a raft." 

" A raft ? " 

" Yes, a raft." 

« Why ? What for ? " 

" Because, Young, I can stand this no longer. I 
am about to try and make Tofoa on this raft." 

" Madness ! You could never reach there, even 



THE RUBICON 47 

if there were no sharks. There is a fearful current 
setting to the westward." 

"I don't care. Sharks are better company than 
this infernal tyrant. Why, do you know, Young, 
that the damned, pitiful scoundrel actually invited me 
to sup with him to-night, no doubt thinking to 
propitiate me for the insults of this afternoon." 

"Oh, well, you've suffered no more than I. But 
still, this is sheer madness. Christian. You are not, 
surely, such a fool as to incur all the odium of 
becoming a deserter, for what ? — to be turned into 
shark's meat ! " 

" Don't argue with me, Young," he answered 
fiercely. " I've made up my mind to get out of this 
floating hell, and I mean to leave the ship either in the 
first or middle watch. You know of my intention. 
If you think it your duty, tell the gentle Bligh." 

Young laughed. " Not I, Christian. I'll not 
move in the matter, except to dissuade you from 
such folly." 

" Cease, cease, my dear fellow ; it is too late. 
Either this, or I put an end to my life. But if your 
sympathies are with me, do me this favour — go to the 
steward and on some pretence or other get me food. 
Put it in a bag with some nails and hoop-iron and 
beads, or anything likely to take the fancy of the 
natives, and bring it to me." 

Young at once went away, and procuring a canvas 
bag put in it food, some bottles of water, and a few 
articles for barter. But at the same time he told the 
boatswain's mate of Christian's watch and the officers 



48 THE MUTINEER 

in charge of the first and middle watches, and begged 
them to keep the matter secret, but on no account to 
give the young man an opportunity of carrying out 
his rash project, "for," said he earnestly, "Mr. 
Christian is not in a fit state to leave the ship ; the 
man is ill in mind and body, and not responsible for 
his actions." 

Slowly the night passed, and more than once 
Christian came on deck with the intention of putting 
his idea of escape into practice ; but he always found 
some one ready to talk to him, and so no opportunity 
came. At half-past three he gave up all further 
attempts, and sick in mind, lay down in his bunk. 
Then eight bells struck, and he was called by Stewart 
to take the morning watch. 

As Stewart turned to go on deck he pressed 
Christian's hand sympathetically, and said in a low 
voice, " Mr. Christian, I know your design. For 
God's sake, sir, try to have patience, and give up 
your intention. If you carry it out, it only means a 
dreadful death." 

" I will make no further attempt to-night, at least," 
he answered, in a strange, husky voice ; but he gave 
the midshipman's hand a firm grip. 

For some minutes he sat upon his sea-chest, with 
his face buried in his hands, thinking ; and the darkness 
of the night, the hoarse mutterings and muffled 
thunder from distant Tofoa, found a responsive echo 
in his maddened brain. 

The signs of dawn were reddening the horizon as 
Christian reached the deck ; and the black pall of smoke 



THE RUBICON 49 

which had hovered over Tofoa's lofty peak was 
vanishing before the breath of a light air which was 
coming over the water from the south-east but had 
not yet stirred the Bounty's canvas. 

Thomas Hayward, the midshipman of the watch, 
had mustered his men ; the wheel had been relieved, 
the look-out stationed, and those of the watch who 
were not needed had gone forward to lay about the 
deck to doze or sleep. 

Leaning over the forecastle rail the look-out stood 
watching the movement of a huge shark that swam 
to and fro, close to the ship's port side. Presently 
Young, whose attention was drawn to the monster 
by the seaman, leant over the waist and watched also, 
and shuddered as he thought of Christian and his raft ; 
then, knowing that Christian would not disturb him, 
he lay down between two guns. 

Pacing to and fro on the starboard side of the little 
poop the master's mate was waiting for the breeze 
to reach the ship, to give the order to brace the yards 
round to meet it. Perhaps had that light, cooling 
air which was now sweeping away sulphurous smoke 
from Tofoa's black sides, reached the silent ship and 
sent the crew hurrying about her decks, the desperate 
deed that was so soon to follow would never have been 
done. But as Christian looked aloft, he saw the 
pendant topsails give a feeble flap or two and then 
hang limp and dead as before ; a faint breath of air 
touched his burning temples, and then silence, deep 
and oppressive, fell upon the ship again. 

" A dead calm still," he muttered to himself ; " I 
5 



50 THE MUTINEER 

wish to God a squall would put us on our beam ends or 
founder the sliip — anything but this." And then he 
stepped to the side and watched, with a curious sense 
of fascination, the sullen massof the burning mountain. 

The utter impossibility of his leaving the ship unless 
to die by the teeth of the sharks was now forced upon 
his mind, for there beneath the counter he saw 
swimming to and fro a brute that would have made 
short work of him upon the fragile raft on which he 
had thought to venture his life. But yet — and his 
hands clenched savagely — submission to his lot was 
not possible — better death itself than endure it longer. 

Then his thoughts went back to a night on the 
white beach at Tahiti, the murmuring sway and rustle 
of plumed palms, and the soft symphony of the 
throbbing surf on the distant reef, as Mahina's starlike 
eyes, dimmed with her farewell tears, looked past his 
own into the cloudless vault of heaven above them ; 
and her passionate pleadings as she placed her trembling 
hands upon his arm seemed even now to be borne to 
him across the sea, and made the quick, hot blood or 
youth surge madly through his veins. Madness to 
think of her now ! Yes, he knew that ; but yet 
she loved him — would give her life for him, even. A 
savage ! And he a King's officer, yet a slave to a 
vindictive tyrant — his life one daily round of insult 
and shame. ... A savage, yet a gloriously beautiful 
woman, whom only his duty to his King and country 
made him forget. 

Then his face flushed hotly. Forget her ! What 
folly to try to deceive himself ! He loved her ! . . . 



THE RUBICON 51 

He struck his clenched hand on the rail, and then his 
brain caught fire, his breath came in short, quick gasps, 
and the way out flashed into his mind. 

What would be his life at sea ? Bligh, even if 
suffered until the ship returned to England, was not 
the only coarse, cruel tyrant in the Service. And it 
would be at least seven months ere the voyage was 
ended — seven months of torture, shame and misery. 
And over there, far beyond the sea-rim lay at least 
happiness with one who loved him. 

What did it matter after all ? Perhaps after long, 
long years of service he would be put aside for other 
and younger men who had influence and social 
position. But then, he thought, he was an officer, 
a man of good family. The insults he had received 
might be forgotten were he one of the rough, coarse 
seamen for'ard — such a man, for instance, as Quintal 
who, when brutally flogged by Bligh, swore he would 
kill his oppressor. But a seaman forgot and forgave a 
flogging, and an oflScer and a gentleman must forget 
and — no, not forgive — an insult from his superior. 

So, as he paced to and fro on the little poop and as 
the dawn began to break he sought to get rid of the 
devil tempting him ; but he sought in vain. Again 
and again Mahina's soft voice and choking sobs 
sounded in his ears. " I will love thee for ever and 
ever and ever ; how canst thou leave me ? " 

Then the way out came into his heart again. It was 
so easy of accomplishment, too. He stopped suddenly in 
his hurried pacing to and fro and his quick mutterings ; 
for the man at the wheel was regarding him curiously. 



52 THE MUTINEER 

" My God ! " he muttered to himself, then cried aloud 
" I'll do it ! " He stepped to the break of the poop. 

" Hayward," he called in a hoarse whisper. 

Hay ward jumped up from the hatch where he had 
been lying and came to the foot of the poop ladder. 

" Did you call me, sir ? " 

"Yes" — and his voice seemed like the voice or 
another man to the speaker himself — "come up here 
and look after her. I want to go below and lash up 
my hammock." 

The midshipman looked inquiringly at him. " You 
are ill, sir," he said ; " better get into your hammock 
instead. Hallet is sleeping on deck. Let me call him 
to relieve you." 

" No," and his voice had a strange, sharp ring in it ; 
"come up here." 

" You are not thinking of that raft again, Mr. 
Christian ? There's been a shark swimming round 
the ship all night." 

" Damn you, come up here when I tell you." 

" Very well, sir," said Hayward in a changed voice, 
and he walked aft to the binnacle without another 
word. 

Christian ran forward. The men of his watch lay 
sleeping on the fore-hatch, and among them he was 
quick to recognise two seamen, Quintal and McCoy, 
men who had been severely punished for trivial 
offences by Bligh. Both were good seamen, and, 
with Alexander Smith, had a particular liking for 
Christian, who had treated them with a great deal of 
kindness. The master's mate, now that he had 



THE RUBICON 53 

determined to take the plunge, seemed to have rapidly 
sketched in his mind a feasible plan of action. He 
stooped down and awakened both of them quietly. 

The men sprang to their feet and would have called 
the rest of the sleeping watch, but with a warning 
gesture Christian stopped them. Then he motioned 
them to follow him to the waist of the ship. 

"Listen," said he, speaking quickly; "I have 
determined to take charge of this ship. Captain 
Bligh is no longer fit to command her. You two 
know him — and you knotu me ! " 

The seamen, half dazed at the suddenness of the ques- 
tion, hesitated a moment. " My God, men ! " he said 
hoarsely, " answer me. Heavens ! Why do you 
hesitate ? Are you men or cowards ? You, Quintal, 
will you help me ? " 

" Help you, sir ? " and Matthew Quintal, a young 
man of scarce twenty-one years, seized his jumper on 
either side with his brawny hands and showed his 
broad, tattooed chest. " I don't know what you mean, 
sir, but I'll follow you to hell." 

" Good ; and now, McCoy, you ? " 

A grim smile flickered over McCoy's features. 
Like Quintal he was tattooed on both chest and 
arms, and was a broad-shouldered, strongly-made 
man, with deep-set eyes and a face denoting un- 
daunted courage and resolution. 

"I am with you, sir, and with Mat Quintal." 

" Go you then, McCoy, and rouse the armourer. 
Tell him I want the key of the arm-chest to shoot a 
shark. You, Quintal, rouse up Churchill, Muspratt, 



54 THE MUTINEER 

and Millward, and remind them of the flogging Bligh 
gave them at Tahiti ; then bring them quietly to me." 

The men stepped softly below to the 'tween decks 
to carry out their orders. As soon as their backs 
were turned young Smith, who, unobserved by Chris- 
tian, lay awake upon the main-hatch, rose and came 
towards the officer. 

" What are you about to do, Mr. Christian ? " he 
said in whispered tones. " I heard your orders. Stop 
them, sir, before it is too late, for God's sake ! " 

" Ah, Smith, is that you ? It is too late, too late 
now. Will you sail under my orders, or will you 
make me shoot you, as I certainly will do if you give 
the alarm ? " 

The young seaman's face paled. " Your threat, 
sir, would not stop me if I had not already decided. 
I don't like to join in a mutiny, but it is your act, 
sir, and not mine ; and you will have to answer for it, 
not me. Captain Bligh is no friend of mine ; and I'll 
never desert a gentleman like you for him. You can 
count on me, sir." 

Christian took his hand and gripped it fiercely. 
Then McCoy returned with the key of the arm- 
chest, which was kept aft ; following him up the 
ladder came Quintal, accompanied by a fair-haired lad 
named Ellison, and Millward, one of the three for 
whom Quintal had gone below — all in a state of 
suppressed excitement. 

"It's all right," said Quintal; "Muspratt and 
Churchill are coming. They are with us, but they 
are below bringing up some of the others." 



THE RUBICON 55 

For one brief moment the madness of the deed 
flashed across Christian's brain as he saw the figures 
of the seamen coming up from the 'tween decks ; but 
the phrase "they are with us" reminded him that he 
was now a mutineer, and too far on his fatal course to 
draw back. He set his teeth and, in another minute, 
followed by his associates in the desperate venture, 
was serving out weapons to his party from the arm- 
chest. 

The noise made by the clank of the arms, slight as 
it was, had by this time wakened all the watch on 
deck ; and Hayward, sitting on the wheel grating, 
was suddenly astounded to see Christian running 
towards him, cutlass in hand, followed by a number of 
armed seamen. The watch came tramping aft, and 
Christian, with a maddening sense of triumph in his 
heart, felt that the supreme moment had arrived. 

Quick as lightning he spoke some hot words to 
McCoy and Quintal, who repeated them to the 
thrcnginsr and excited sailors : Quintal and Ellison 
then rapidly passed weapons to four or five of the 
watch. These, stepping apart from the others, at 
once ranged themselves with Christian and his party. 

Still, despite the fierce, eager mutterings and the 
clash of arm^s from those on deck, there had been no 
great noise or confusion, and none of those who slept 
below were awakened ; the mutineers, from ready 
force of habit, obeying unhesitatingly the orders of 
the passionate man who was once their officer and 
now their ringleader. 

There was a moment's pause ; a dozen armed men, 



56 THE MUTINEER 

grim and determined, stood around their leader, wait- 
ing. As the sun leapt, a flaming ball of blood-red 
fire, from out the sleeping sea, Christian looked into 
the dark and working faces of the crew and waved his 
cutlass in the air ; then, following their leader, the 
desperate men made a dash for Bligh's cabin. 



CHAPTER VII 



MUTINY 



ALTHOUGH it was now daylight the great 
cabin was still in semi-darkness when Christian, 
followed by Churchill, by Mills, the gunner's mate, 
and a seaman named Birkett, burst in upon the 
sleeping commander. 

As a flood of sunlight poured through the widely- 
opened door Bligh, aroused by the rush of hurrying 
feet, started up in his bunk to find a musket levelled 
at his heart, and the li\'id face of Christian looking 
savagely into his own. 

"What is this?" he said in his quick, imperious 
way, preparing to spring out of his berth. 

"If you utter another word I'll shoot you," 
answered Christian, still presenting his piece ; then 
suddenly he grounded it upon the deck with a crash 
and turned to his followers. 

" Drag him out and lash his hands behind his 
back," he cried. Again the commander tried to 
spring from his bed, his cheek white, not with fear 
but with suppressed rage ; and again he threw himself 

57 



58 THE MUTINEER 

back as Christian, whose eyes gleamed with a deadly, 
awful hatred, thrust the muzzle of the musket almost 
into his face. 

In another moment the men sprang upon Bligh, 
and with savage fury dragged him out of his bunk, 
and Mills, the instant his captain's feet touched the 
deck, seized his white, delicate hands and lashed them 
behind his back with a piece of native cinnet. 

" Drag him up on deck," and Christian stood aside 
to let the seamen execute his orders. 

The moment the struggling form of Bligh appeared 
on deck, young Ellison, who had taken the wheel, 
sprang towards them, tore a bayonet from the hands 
of a seaman near him, and launched himself upon the 
captain with an imprecation, but was thrust back by 
Smith. 

" Stand back, boy ! " said Christian fiercely ; " I 
alone will deal with him. You, Smith, and you, 
McCoy, keep guard over him, and if he tries to utter 
a word shov/ him no mercy — blow his brains out on 
the spot." 

In grim and ominous silence McCoy and Smith, 
with loaded muskets and fixed bayonets, stepped out 
and stationed themselves on either side of the bound 
man. Christian, hitherto doubtful of the fidelity of 
his party, noted with a savage satisfaction that 
McCoy's face was working with passion, and that he 
at least was prepared to carry out his leader's orders, 
while Smith's open, ruddy countenance was now 
set and stern. 

Meanwhile Quintal, accompanied by a seaman 



MUTINY 59 

named Williams, who was stripped to the waist and 
armed with a cutlass, had burst into the cabin of 
Fryer, the master and senior officer under Bligh, and 
ordered him on deck. 

Fryer sprang up with a loud cry and reached for 
his pistols, which were on a rack over his head ; but 
Quintal was too quick for him and seized him by the 
wrist in a vice-like grip. 

" Hold your tongue, or, by God ! you are a dead man, 
Mr. Fryer ! Keep quiet and no one will hurt you ; 
resist, and I'll run you through," and Williams leant 
across him and secured the pistols. 

The dangerous look in his eyes as he pointed them 
at the master's heart told Fryer that resistance meant 
death, but folding his arms across his chest he stood 
defiantly facing them both. 

" What are you doing ? " he asked. " Have you 
taken the ship ? " 

" Yes, we have. Mr. Christian is our captain now." 

"Where is Captain Bligh ? What have you done 
with him, you villains ? " 

" Keep a civil tongue in your head, Mr. Fryer ; 
we are desperate men, and yet we don't want to kill 
you. I'll tell you what we intend doing with the 
captain," and he laughed grimly ; " we are going to 
put him in the small cutter and let him try living on 
three-quarters of a pound of yam a day." 

" The small cutter I Why, her bottom is almost 
out ; she's worm-eaten and full of holes." 

" The boat is a lot too good for him even if she had 
no bottom at all," answered Quintal. " Now go on 



6o THE MUTINEER 

deck, Mr. Fryer, and mind this, if you make one 
attempt at resistance you are a dead man." 

As soon as they reached the deck they saw Chris- 
tian standing on the poop, giving orders to get out the 
boat. 

" In God's name. Christian, what are you about ? " 
and Fryer, disregarding the menacing gestures of the 
mutineers, placed his hand on his shipmate's arm. 
" Are you mad, man ? Consider the consequences ! " 

" Not a word from you, Fryer ! " and Christian 
dashed aside his hand fiercely. " I tell you that I 
have been in hell for weeks past. This dog, this 
infernal, malignant scoundrel, has brought all this 
upon himself. Stand back, I tell you — I am 
dangerous ! " 

" Christian, let me implore you. . . ." 

" Silence, I tell you ! " 

" For God's sake, Christian, let me speak. We 
have always been friends, and you may trust me. 
Resist this mad impulse before it is too late. Let 
the captain go down to his cabin again and leave 
me to tackle the men." 

With a fearful oath Christian turned upon him and 
pointed his cutlass at Fryer's heart. " Silence ! I tell 
you for the last time. I don't want to murder 
you. Fryer, but, by the God above me, FU run you 
through if you don't cease ! " 

Fryer's bronzed cheek paled a moment, but his eye 
never quailed even when the cutlass point touched his 
breast. " Will you not at least get out a better boat 
than the cutter ? " he said quietly. 



MUTINY 6i 

" No ! by heavens, I will not ! That boat is good 
enough for such a ruffian," then lowering his weapon 
he turned away and beckoned to Smith and McCoy 
to leave their prisoner and come to him, and for half a 
minute he conversed eagerly with them ; while Bligh 
managed to get near enough to the master to speak. 

" Mr. Fryer," he said quickly, yet calmly, " there 
must be some of the officers and men who will not 
fail me in the hour of need. For God's sake. Fryer, try 
to find some of them ere this villain murders us all ! " 

But low as were his tones Christian heard him, and 
stepping up to the captain and Fryer, when within a 
foot or two of Bligh, he seized him by the shoulder 
and made as if to run him through. 

" Advance one step nearer, and by the God above 
us this cutlass goes through your cowardly, brutal 
heart ! All the officers and men not with me are 
guarded below ; you can do no good now ; your 
authority on this floating hell is gone for ever. Here, 
two of you men take Mr. Fryer back to his cabin and 
lock him in." 

By this time the cutter was afloat ; but Christian, 
realising that it would be impossible to crowd all of 
those who were well-affected to Bligh into her, had 
also lowered the launch, a six-oared boat measuring 
twenty-three feet from stem to stern. 

Two officers, Hayward and Hallet, and Elphin- 
stone, Heywood, and Stewart (midshipmen), Ledward 
the surgeon. Cole the boatswain, Purcell the carpenter, 
and some seamen, meanwhile had been secured either 
below or on deck. One or two of the youngsters, 



62 THE MUTINEER 

among whom was Peter Heywood, a lad of fifteen, 
scarcely understanding what they were doing in the 
confusion and excitement, had been compelled to lend 
the mutineers a hand in getting out the launch ; and 
Bligh's keen eye happened to fall on this boy as he 
was helping with the boat-falls. 

This was unfortunate for Heywood, who was at 
once put down by his commander as one of the ring- 
leaders, and suffered for it later. 

Suddenly Christian sprang upon the poop from the 
main-deck, and again held a consultation with Smith 
and McCoy. He turned and gazed savagely at Bligh, 
who met his look with unflinching calmness. For a 
few moments the two men regarded each other with 
looks of deadliest hatred, and then Fletcher Christian's 
voice rang out. 

"Pass all but Captain Bligh over the side into the 
boat." 

Then with oaths, struggles, and entreaties some 
twenty men were dragged along the deck and passed 
down into the boat. Bligh, who stood near the 
gangway, now made an appeal to the leader of the 
mutineers, who was on the poop watching him. 

"If you will stop this even now, Mr. Christian, 
I will promise nothing more shall come of it," he 
called out. 

The master's mate, flinging down the cutlass he 
still held, ran down the poop and faced his enemy ; 
and the crew drew back as he spoke. 

" Captain Bligh, listen to me. I could kill you as 
you stand before me now, but I am no murderer. 



MUTINY 63 

Tyrant and coward, I and those who have suffered 
with me have done with you for ever." 

A crimson flush dyed the commander's face from 
brow to chin, and he clenched his hands together 
tightly at the insulting words. 

Then the boat was veered astern, and McCoy, 
making the painter fast to the stern rail, turned to his 
leader for further orders. 

Going to the stern of the ship. Christian eyed the 
condition of the boat for a minute in silence, till the 
boatswain made an attempt to soften his heart. 

"Mr. Christian," he cried, standing up in the boat, 
" let me plead with you for myself as well as Captain 
Bligh." 

" No, no, Mr. Cole," Christian answered. " I 
have been in hell for the past two weeks and am de- 
termined to bear it no longer. You know. Cole, that 
during the whole voyage I have been treated like a 
dog." 

" Will you not let the master, who is an old man, 
remain on board, and take some of the men out of the 
boat to lighten her ? " called Bligh, from where he 
stood at the gangway. 

: I " No ! " was the fierce reply ; " Mr. Fryer must go 
with you — do you think we are fools ? But some or 
the men may come out of the boat." 

A brief discussion among those in the boat ended in 
two or three seamen asking to be taken on board. 
The boat was hauled alongside under the counter and 
they ascended to the deck ; and the boatswain, who 
was a relative of one of them, said to him, " Goodbye 



64 THE MUTINEER 

and God bless you, my boy ; but for my wife and 
children I too would stay with the ship also." 

Again Bligh spoke, and there was now no sharp, 
imperious ring in his voice. 

" Mr. Christian," he said, " I'll pawn my honour 
as a King's officer — I'll give you my solemn word, 
with God as my witness, never to think of this if you 
will desist from this outrage even now. Consider my 
wife and family." 

The mutineer laughed mockingly. " No, Captain 
BHgh. If you had any honour things would not 
have come to this pass ; and if you had any regard 
for your wife and family you should have thought of 
them before, and not have behaved like the heartless 
villain you are." 

Then, by Christian's orders, Bligh's clothes, his 
commission, private journal, and pocket-book were 
passed down, his hands were liberated, and he was 
ordered into the boat, which was hauled amidships to 
receive him. Christian handed to him over the side a 
book of nautical tables and his own quadrant, saying 
as he did so : " That book is sufficient for every 
purpose, and you know my quadrant to be a good 
one." 

Again the boat was veered astern. Bligh, standing 
up, raised his clenched hand and cursed the mutineers 
bitterly, swearing vengeance against those on the ship 
who would not help him to retake her. Laughs and 
jeers from the group on the Bounty's poop was the 
only notice taken of him. Then for the last time the 
mutineers heard his voice and they ceased their gibes 



MUTINY 65 

at the dignity of his tones as he spoke to those whom 
he thought yet faithful to him on board. 

" Never mind, my lads ; you can't all come with 
me, but I will do you justice if ever I reach England." 

The boat's painter was then cast off by Quintal, 
and the crew took to their oars, Bligh giving his 
commands in a calm and collected manner. The 
ocean was calm and only a faint breeze rippled the 
surface of the placid sea. 

As the departing commander and his crew dipped 
their oars into the water they saw Christian leaning 
on the rail over the stern, regarding them intently. 
Presently he stood up and gave an order ; the yards 
were swung round, and a cheer came over to them 
from the ship — " Hurrah for Tahiti ! " 



And as the crowded boat grows smaller and smaller 
to the vision of the desperate man who stands gazing 
at her from the Bounty's stern, so let those in her go 
out of this story ; they have no further part in it. But 
the memory of that daring boat voyage will live for 
ever in our country's annals. Who has not read of 
Bligh's indomitable courage and resolution, his admir- 
able forethought for the eighteen suffering beings 
who braved the venture with him, from the first day 
when the over-crowded little craft was cast off from 
the ship until it sighted Timor, forty-one days after ? 
His successful conduct of that terrible voyage over an 
all but unknown sea, losing as he did only one of his 
men, yet encountering the risk of wreck by violent 

6 



66 THE MUTINEER 

storms, of massacre by savage islanders, of the pangs 
of hunger and the agonies of thirst, well entitled him 
to the honours that his country paid him. In that act 
of his life he played his part nobly, and all else that he 
did ill, when measured against such fortitude in the 
face of danger and death, may well be forgotten. 



CHAPTER VIII 



HURRAH FOR TAHITI 



STANDING with folded arms and gloomy face, 
in which all passion seemed to be dead, the 
leader of the mutineers watched the launch gradually 
increase her distance from the Bounty. The last 
words of Bligh as the boat was cast off still rang in 
his ears : " I will do you justice if ever I reach 
England." 

These were ominous words, and they brought 
vividly before him the horrors of his situation. " If 
justice is done," he muttered, "what will become of 
me ? My God ! Why did I not put an end to my 
life before this madness got the better of me r " 

The wild cheer of " Hurrah for Tahiti ! " from his 
followers roused him to a sense of his present position. 
It was evident that to others besides himself a return to 
Tahiti was one of the inducements for the desperate 
deed just accomplished. And he was quick to realise, 
too, that for the safety of them all he must assert him- 
self and take command of the ship. Even had Bligh 
not heard that defiant cry as the mutineers swung 

67 



68 THE MUTINEER 

round the yards, Tahiti would be the first place 
thought of by those who would surely come in search 
of them. How soon would that search begin ? That 
it would begin sooner or later he never doubted. The 
possibility of Bligh and those with him not being 
picked up by some ship, or not reaching some place of 
safety, never occurred to him. And yet every one but 
himself realised how small indeed was the chance that 
those in the frail little launch would escape death in 
one or other of the lingering and dreadful forms to 
which he had so mercilessly consigned them. 

The murmuring of voices roused him from his 
gloomy reflections, and presently McCoy, Quintal, 
Smith, and others of the more active of the mutineers 
gathered round their leader, while the rest of the 
men, forming a group on the main deck, were talking 
in excited tones of what ought to be done for the best. 

He turned to those near him and spoke, with every 
trace of excitement absent from his voice and manner. 

" Men, remember that our future safety from death 
at the yard-arm depends upon the discipline of a well- 
ordered ship being maintained. Now that the thing 
is done we have to guard ourselves for the future. 
Therefore, as you all have to rely upon me for the 
navigation of the ship, and as I am the only officer left, 
until we have settled upon some safe island, and got 
rid of her, you will have to obey my orders. Are you 
agreed to that ? " 

" Aye, aye, Mr. Christian ; you can depend upon us," 
they answered. 

" Very well, then. I have decided to take the ship 



"HURRAH FOR TAHITI!" 69 

to Tubuai.' It will not be safe for us to remain at 
Tahiti ; search will be made for the Bounty^ and 
Tahiti will be the first place a ship will visit. You, 
Smith, McCoy, and Quintal, who were among the 
first to stand by me in this undertaking, can arrange 
with me a plan for our mutual safety. 

" But we want to go back to Tahiti," cried several 
of the others. 

" Yes," answered Christian quietly, " you want to 
go back because of the women you have left there. 
Do not fear, you shall see Tahiti again. Now listen, 
and I will tell you what my plan is. First, let us go to 
Tubuai and form a settlement there. Then, when 
that is finished, I propose to return to Tahiti and bring 
away as many people as choose to come — that is if 
these women still run in your minds." 

There was a bitter ring in his last words, and 
Smith, in a low voice, asked him to humour the men 
more, " for remember, sir," said he, " you have given 
them their liberty and you will have to take care 
how you cross them." 

The caution was needed ; most of the men by no 
means relished the prospect of delay in returning to 
the delights of Tahiti, and one of them in no uncer- 
tain manner expressed his sentiments, adding — " You 
know Mr. Christian, we have a couple of navigators 
left, if you can't hit it with us." 

" What do you mean by that ? " asked Christian 
quickly. 

' An island nearly due south of Tahiti and distant from that island 
about 5^ degrees. 



JO THE MUTINEER 

" Why, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Heywood are both 
below." 

" What ! " and Fletcher Christian turned fiercely to 
Quintal. " Why were these two — one a mere child — 
not sent away in the boat ? Are you such villains as 
not to have told me, if you knew it ? " 

"It was just an idea of ours," answered the seaman 
who had first spoken — Williams, the Guernsey man ; 
" we thought it just as well to have more than one 
navigator on board in case anything went wrong 
with you." 

Christian did not reply. He felt that he had no 
claim to their obedience other than they chose to 
admit, and that this was but a reasonable precaution on 
their parts. 

" Where are these two now ? " he asked. 

" Down below ; kept prisoners until all the row 
was over," answered Williams, " Shall I pass the word 
for them to be brought upon deck ? " 

" Yes," replied Christian ; " bring them up." 

Stewart and Heywood — the first-named an acting 
mate, and the second a mere, ruddy-faced boy on his 
first voyage to sea — were accordingly brought up, and 
to the surprise of every one, as they came up the 
ladder, they were followed by the swarthy-faced 
Edward Young. 

" What does this mean, Mr. Christian ? " said Stewart 
as soon as he reached the poop-deck. " Why have we 
been kept prisoners ? I know that you have taken the 
ship and turned Captain Bligh adrift with the other 
officers. Why have we been detained against our wills ? " 



"HURRAH FOR TAHITI!" 71 

" It is not my fault you arc here," answered 
Christian gloomily. "I thought that you were gone 
in the boat." 

" However that may be," replied Stewart excitedly, 
" because you have turned pirate that is no reason why 
we should do so. I would rather die than remain with 
you and be branded as a mutineer." 

"And I too, Mr. Christian," broke in young Hcy- 
wood. " I have a family at home, and no act of mine 
shall bring disgrace on them." 

Christian smiled bitterly at the lad. "These are 
hard words — but God knows I cannot blame you for 
them. Yet I hope, my boy, that you will forgive me 
for the misfortune I have brought upon you ; and I 
promise that at the first port we reach, if it be a spot 
where it is likely a ship may touch, you can separate 
from us." 

" That's fair enough," said a seamen named 
Thompson. " 'Twas I and Williams who kept you 
below against your wills ; and I for one will help you 
to leave the ship by and by." 

" And what have you to say, Mr. Young ? " asked 
Christian, turning to him ; " how do you come to be 
among us ? " 

The young man laughed quietly and leant against 
the skylight as he answered, " I am here of my own 
free will. I heard what was going on on deck and 
quietly got out of the way until you had decided 
matters — and I'm damned glad you have decided 'em 
this way. Bligh is a good riddance, and while I didn't 
want to take an active part in the row I wasn't going 



72 THE MUTINEER 

to help him ; and so long as you have the command I 
am ready to serve under you." 

" Well done, sir," cried several of the men at this 
speech, w^hich was delivered with the utmost coolness, 
and evoked audible expressions of disgust and con- 
tempt from Stewart and Heywood ; and then one of 
the seamen made some coarse jest about Alrema and 
Tahiti. 

A look of contempt passed over Christian's features 
as he glanced at his dark, saturnine-faced ally, and for 
the instant he forgot he was the leader of mutineers, 
and felt as Stewart and Heywood did towards the 
young man. Then he remembered the situation, and 
taking Young by the hand, said in mingled tones of 
contempt and friendliness : " Thank you, Young. I 
am glad that I am not the only ' infernal scoundrel ' 
(mocking Bligh's voice) on board the Bounty."" 
Then turning to the others he said — 

" Well, men, are you agreed ? Shall we set a 
course for Tubuai ? Fortunately for us the south- 
east trades have not yet set in for good, and we ought 
to make a quick run there." 

" Aye, aye, sir," cried several of the leading spirits 
among them. " We'll abide by you ; let it be Tubuai." 

" Then keep her east-south-east," said Christian to 
the man at the wheel, and as the ship's head came to 
the wind a point or two, the yards were braced up 
and the little barque began to slip through the water 
with the now freshening breeze. 

An hour later, when Tofoa was but a pale blue cone 
on the horizon, an agreement was arrived at that 



"HURRAH FOR TAHITI!" 73 

Young, Churchill, Quintal, Smith, and McCoy 
should, with the new commander, at once settle a 
definite plan of action for the future ; and the rest of 
the mutineers, coming aft, shook hands with one 
another and swore they would faithfully adhere to 
whatever was decided upon. 

Then, under the direction of Young, the breadfruit 
plants were taken out of their racks and passed to two 
seamen, who, standing on the cabin transoms, with 
many a jest at this ending of the scientific expedition, 
pitched them out of the stern ports into the sea. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE COUNCIL IN THE CABIN 

THE council in the now denuded cabin of the 
Bounty was conducted in a friendly enough 
manner. In Smith and Young — both of whom were 
well-liked by the crew — Fletcher Christian had two 
powerful allies. Young, disgusted with life at sea 
under such a tyrannical commander as Bligh, yet 
without the high spirit that had moved Christian to 
such a desperate deed as mutiny, was willing and 
indeed eager to lead the life of luxurious ease that they 
all anticipated in the future ; for he fully recognised 
that he, in joining his fortunes with those of Christian, 
had for ever dissevered himself from all hope of return- 
ing to England; and while he despised all those around 
him save Christian, he was yet perfectly agreeable 
to associate with them now on terms of equality. 

Smith, in his strong devotion to Christian, seemed 
to have thrown over the teachings of his youth, and 
showed by his earnest manner that he was ready to 
stand or fall by his new leader. 

McCoy and Quintal, rough seamen, rrom long 



THE COUNCIL IN THE CABIN 75 

habits of obedience and following the lead of Young 
and Smith, acquiesced in all that was proposed ; the 
only doubtful supporter was Churchill, who wanted 
the ship to be headed for Tahiti at once. But 
obstinate as was the latter, he had no part in the 
plotting that was already going on among some of 
the crew to compel Christian to abandon the idea 
of Tubuai and make for Tahiti instead. 

The first matter decided was that Christian should 
be treated in every respect as would be a King's officer 
commanding the ship, until such time as the mutineers 
had found a place of refuge on some island where they 
would be safe from discovery or capture. No one of 
those who sat in council in the cabin for a moment 
thought of ever returning to Europe to face the 
ignominious death that would certainly await them ; 
and Young, in his mocking manner, took care to show 
the seamen who sat with him at the cabin table that 
it was better for them all to die of old age on some 
island than be hanged at the yard-arm in England. 

Following this, it was agreed that Young, being 
well liked by the crew, should be second in command 
and take charge of one watch ; while Mills, the 
gunner's mate, who was the next in rank as well as 
the oldest man on board, should take charge of the 
other half of the ship's company. 

Stewart and Heywood were to be regarded as 
" prisoners at large," and this decision was at once 
made known to them ; but they both refused the 
privilege of the freedom of the ship if it involved any 
assurance on their part of loyalty to the mutineers. 



-jS THE MUTINEER 

" Send for them, Mr. Christian," suggested Smith, 
"and see if you can't get them to join us. They'll 
listen to you, I am sure." 

Presently the two lads were brought into the cabin, 
and both frankly stated to Christian their intention 
of endeavouring, by some means or other, to reach 
England and doing all in their power to bring him 
and those with him to justice when they got there. 

A dangerous look came into Edward Young's eyes. 
Heywood saw it, but although his fresh, boyish face 
paled a moment, he returned Young's frown with a 
look of defiance. 

" As you please," said Christian shortly ; " but I tell 
you, foolish boys, you are treading on dangerous 
ground. Take my advice and keep your intentions 
to yourselves, else you will repent your folly. There 
are men on board the ship who have gone too far 
to " 

" To hesitate at pitching two damned young fools 
overboard," broke in Young savagely ; but a look 
from Christian made him cease. And then the 
council came to an end. 

The new commander, however, took no steps to 
prevent Stewart and Heywood from going among the 
crew, though he knew they were endeavouring to 
form a party for recapturing the ship. He was con- 
fident that however some of the men might attempt 
to frustrate his plan of first making Tubuai, none 
would be mad enough to risk destruction by listening 
to any talk about the ship being recaptured. 

But Quintal, McCoy, and Smith, fortunately for 



THE COUNCIL IN THE CABIN 77 

the success of the enterprise, did not share their leader's 
faith, and a few days after they had returned to their 
old duties as able seamen they found that the daring 
midshipmen had so far succeeded in alienating some 
of the crew from Christian that a plot was ripe to 
retake the vessel. 

One night when the ship was some two or three 
miles to the southward of Savage Island — an isolated 
but fertile spot about three hundred miles from Tofoa 
— Quintal stood at the forward weather rail, gazing at 
the high cliffs of grey coral rock against whose jagged 
sides the ocean rollers dashed unceasingly and sent 
showers of spray high up to the dense foliage which 
grew on the verge of their summits. Presently he 
was joined by Smith, who whispered — 

" Heywood and Stewart, with five others, will try 
to retake the ship to-morrow evening. Don't talk to 
me now, but follow me aft by and by ; then we can 
tell Christian. That scoundrel Coleman was the first 
to join them, and has promised to serve them out arms 
to-morrow night. All of them, except Coleman, are 
in the gunner's watch." 

A quarter of an hour later. Christian, with a grim 
smile, dismissed Smith and Quintal and watched for 
his chance. About eleven o'clock a furious rain squall 
swept down from the south-east, and among those 
who were sent aloft to take in sail by the gunner's 
mate, who was in charge of the watch, were the five 
men who had agreed to support Heywood and Stewart. 
While these were busy aloft and Coleman was asleep 
— it being his watch below — Smitii, McCoy, and 



78 THE MUTINEER 

Quintal and another seaman made a dash for the arm- 
chest and conveyed it to the cabin. 

Arming all those men of whose loyalty he was 
absolutely assured, Christian waited till the men 
came down from aloft and the watch was about to 
be relieved. Then he called the plotters aft and 
addressed them. A ship's lantern, held by a seaman 
who stood beside him, threw a broad ray of light upon 
the anxious faces of the men gathered on the soaking 
deck ; and then for the first time they saw that the 
men in Young's watch were grouped aft behind 
Christian and his fellow officer. 

Calling upon the five plotters each by name. 
Christian addressed them — 

" I have discovered that you mean to retake the ship. 
Now weigh my words well : if bloodshed follows it 
will be your fault. Some of you who are anxious to 
get back to Tahiti have listened to two foolish boys, 
little thinking of the madness of such an attempt. The 
arm-chest is now in my cabin, and at the first attempt 
on your part to take the command of the ship from 
me I will shoot every man concerned in it. God knows 
I do not want to be your leader longer than I can help, 
and no one among you is less content than I, but," 
and here he turned to those immediately around him, 
" it is necessary for the general safety of us all that I, 
and I alone, should have charge of the ship ; and, by 
God ! while she remains afloat and I alive I will keep 
command." 

A deep growl of approval came from those of his 
party who stood near him as he finished ; then in 



THE COUNCIL IN THE CABIN 79 

gentle tones Christian addressed Heywood and 
Stewart, who had now come on deck. Although he 
seemed outwardly cool the lads could see that he was 
labouring under strong emotion and was striving to 
speak to them calmly and dispassionately. He 
besought them to make no further effort to retake 
the ship, but to support him in his authority — such as 
it was, he said bitterly — till the ship finally reached 
Tahiti, and assured them that this course was best for 
all parties. "And you, Heywood," he said kindly, 
placing his hand on the lad's shoulder, "answer me 
this : have you, or you, Stewart, ever known me to 
tell you a lie ? " 

" No, Mr. Christian, never," replied the boy 
emphatically, looking him directly in the face. 

" Well then, my lads, I beg of you both to believe 
that it would be a bitter sorrow to me to hurt either 
ll of you. I have suffered too much myself to wreck 
your future lives by any needless act of mine ; nor will 
you be in bodily danger unless you drive us to stern 
measures. And I swear to you that I bear you no 
ill-will for what has passed . . . no, my lads, 
none." 

Loyal as they were to their duty, both Stewart and 
Heywood saw the force of his argument and believed 
in his promise to set them free as soon as possible ; and 
assured him they would cause no further trouble. 
Then the watch was changed and the matter ended. 

But from that time the arm-chest was carefully 
watched by men on whom reliance could be placed, 
and every night Churchill, who now kept the key. 



8o THE MUTINEER 

made his bed upon the box, and slept with a brace of 
loaded pistols by his side. 

Day after day the Bounty crept slowly along to the 
eastward, till early one morning the look-out sighted 
the two misty blue peaks of Tubuai rising from the 
sea. As the ship drew nearer to the land, the peaks 
united at the base and showed an island of verdant 
hills and bright, shining beaches of golden sand encom- 
passed by a wide belt of surf-beaten coral reef. 

The wind was light but steady, and Christian 
succeeded in working the ship through the passage on 
the north-west side without much trouble, although 
she was beset by a great number of canoes filled with 
natives who made unmistakable signs of defiance to 
the white men. 

As soon as the ship was secured. Christian and his men 
sought to induce the natives to come on board, but 
only one or two responded to his invitation ; and they, by 
their suspicious and haughty demeanour, showed their 
distrust and dislike of the white strangers. Not a 
woman or child was visible in the canoes, and every 
man was armed with a club and spear. The only dress 
they wore was a girdle or rather bandage round their 
loins, and a turban of tappa cloth round their heads 
of glossy, jet-black and curling hair. They were 
a far handsomer and more active race than the 
Tahitians, much lighter in colour, and of a daring and 
warlike disposition, and their open hostility to the 
Bounty party was every minute becoming more ap- 
parent. 

Not anticipating such a reception as this, Christian 



THE COUNCIL IN THE CABIN 8i 

was in a dilemma. To have to force a landing would 
be a serious matter, and after a brief consultation with 
some of the men, this idea was abandoned. The 
ship had been brought there by him against the wishes 
of the majority, and to have to fight for a footing was, 
as Williams said, " more than they had stomach for." 

" I will not ask you to fight," said Christian, " for 
that would only mean useless slaughter on both sides. 
These people are, as you can see, brave and determined, 
and it is a bitter disappointment to me to find them 
so hostile. But yet I have to consider this — the 
island, as you see for yourselves, is of amazing fertility 
and I do not think that we could find a better place to 
live in. Further, it is not likely to be visited by ships, 
and would be a safe retreat for us." 

"That's true enough, Mr. Christian," answered 
one of the seamen. "Much as I want to get to Tahiti, 
I only want to do so to get the woman I left there — 
and there's a lot more like me. I, for one, think that 
Tubuai is a better place for us than Tahiti." 

" So do I," said Martin ; " and although I want to 
go to Tahiti for the same reason as most of us, I'm 
willing to come back here. To my mind this island 
is far better ; but at the same time we don't want our 
throats cut." 

Satisfied that the crew would be willing to return, 
Christian then proposed that they should make for 
Tahiti, embark as many Tahitians as would come 
with them, return to Tubuai, and either establish 
friendly relations with the people or force a landing 
and build a fort. 

7 



82 THE MUTINEER 

To this the men readily assented, for they could 
easily see that the island was not only very rich and 
fertile, but also well out of the way of discovery, and 
with a little trouble could be made capable of resisting 
the attack of even an European force. 

So, with hundreds of natives still paddling about the 
ship in their red-ochre-painted canoes and uttering 
loud cries of defiance, the anchor was hove up, the 
ship warped out to sea again, and with a light breeze 
filling her canvas, headed due north for Tahiti. 

The following morning Christian collected together 
in the main cabin all the curiosities given to Bligh and 
his officers by the people of Tahiti, as well as all the 
clothes and other property left by those who had been 
sent away with him. Then he mustered the crew 
aft and addressed them, pointing to the piles of goods 
on the cabin deck. 

" Here, my fellow pirates, is the first batch of 
plunder — you see I call things by their right names. 
Draw lots and divide it among yourselves. Every- 
thing that is there will be of value to you for the 
purposes of barter with the natives." 

The sneering tone in which he spoke caused many 
an angry look, but without another word he turned 
from them and went on deck. 

Four days later, on the 5th of June — thirty-eight 
days after the mutiny — the peak of Orohena lay right 
ahead ; at dawn the following day the Bounty sailed 
into Matavai Bay, and as the cries of welcome were 
heard, for awhile all else was forgotten. 



CHAPTER X 



PIPIRI THE AREOI 



ON the same hill where nearly six weeks before 
she had watched the lessening sails of her 
lover's ship sink below the horizon, Mahina again sat 
looking seaward. Day after day since the Bounty had 
sailed she had laid her simple offerings of fruit upon 
the altar of Oro and prayed for Christian's return to 
her, and night after night when the rest of the people 
were singing and dancing upon the broad sward in 
front of Tina's house she, sometimes accompanied by 
Alrema, sat on the hill and the two girls thought or 
talked of Young and Christian. But to-day her friend 
was not with her ; and only an hour before angry 
words had passed between her old, fierce-tempered 
mother and herself about her white lover, and the 
girl, after a passionate burst of tears, had stolen 
silently away to the hill to be alone with her thoughts. 
Old Manuhuru, like the average civilised mother, 
had certain views for her daughter, and ever since the 
Bounty had sailed had sought to induce the girl to forget 

83 



84 THE MUTINEER 

her white lover and accept for her husband Pipiri the 
Areoi ' priest. And of all the men of Tahiti who had 
sought her love Mahina hated most the tall, handsome 
young Areoi, for he was steeped to the lips in blood- 
shed. Only a few years before the Bounty came 
to Tahiti, Pipiri had with his own hands slain his 
two children, according to the rites of the horrible 
fraternity, which demanded that a candidate entering 
upon his novitiate should publicly kill his children and 
put his wife aside, unless she too should become an 
Areoi. Mahina had seen the awful deed, had heard 
the wail of agony from the mother of the children 
when their ruthless father had plunged his knife into 
their bosoms ; and had fled the scene with terror in 
her heart, for Pipiri had long sought her love, and she 
knew he had only become an Areoi that he might 
force her to marry him. 

The girl, by every device she could contrive, avoided 
meeting the young priest, and to her great joy, since 
she had shown her open preference for Christian, Pipiri 

' The Areois were an extraordinary fraternity, followers of the gods 
Orotetefa and Urutetefa, and Mr. Ellis gives a full description of them 
in his " Polynesian Researches." They were, he says, not only priests, 
and so regarded by the people as allied to the gods themselves, but 
strolling players and privileged libertines. The association was composed 
of seven classes. A candidate's admission to the first class was 
signalised by the slaughter of his children, as a proof of his devotion to 
the principle of infanticide. Their power and influence was beyond 
comprehension to the civilised mind ; and their rites and ceremonies 
were of so bloody and revolting a nature, so utterly monstrous and 
degrading that they "appeared to have placed their invention on the 
rack to discover the most hideous crimes of which it was possible for 
man to be guilty." Yet for all this the natives of the Society Islands, 
especially the shiefs, looked upon them with feelings akin to veneration. 



PIPIRI THE AREOI 85 

had not molested her further, although she had fre- 
quently seen him talking earnestly with her mother. 
Only once since Christian had sailed had she met him. 
She was returning with Alrema from her look-out on 
the hill, when the Areoi sprang upon the girls as they 
passed along the narrow, palm-shaded path. His face 
was stained scarlet with the juice of the tnati berry, 
his long black hair hung loosely down over his copper- 
coloured shoulders, and his gleaming savage eyes struck 
terror into her heart ; but Alrema faced him daunt- 
lessly. 

" Ho, Mahina, daughter of Manuhuru, and Alrema 
the saucy-tongued," he cried mockingly, " whence 
come ye ? Are ye still waiting for the white men 
who will never return ? Dost think that thy eyes can 
draw back the g-reat outri2;2;erless canoe ? " ' 

" What is that to thee, Pipiri the slaughterer ? " 
asked Alrema, tearing away her hand from his grasp ; 
"and seek not to frighten us. Think not that 
because thou hast become an Areoi' / fear thee ! " 

" Nay, I know that thou fearest no one," replied 
the priest fiercely ; " but 'tis not thee for whom I 
waited here. Thou art but a chattering fool, whose 
tongue I may yet cut off at the roots ; but it is thee, 
Mahina, who hast eaten into my heart— so now I ask 
thee once more, Why dost thou wait for this white 
lover of thine ? He will never return, I tell thee. 
Heed not the talk of this fool Alrema and those like 
her — who have listened to their white lover's lies. 
Fifty and two days have gone since the ship sailed, 

' The Tahitians called the first ships they saw outriggerless canoes. 



86 THE MUTINEER 

and I tell thee thou wilt never see thy white man 
again." 

Mahina took courage from Alrema, whose rounded 
bosom panted with rage at the mocking words of the 
Areoi, and she sought to soften Pipiri's savage 
nature. 

" Why should I alone be the one woman for whom 
thou carest, Pipiri ? There are many others better 
than I. So pray thee let me be as I am. Yet ir 
Kirisiani comes not back in three moons from now, 
then I will be thy wife." 

The Areoi laughed. " Nay, in less time than that. 
Only just now thy mother swore to me that I might 
take thee in one moon ; for in me, too, is the same 
blood that flows in thy veins — the blood of the race of 
Afita, and for that alone thou shouldst come to me." 
Then without further words he stood aside and let 
the girls pass on to their homes. 

That was ten days ago, and Mahina, as she sat' with 
her face leaning upon her hands and gazed seaward, 
felt the tears well up into her eyes. Her mother had 
indeed promised her in marriage to the blood-stained 
Areoi, whom the old woman regarded as a superior 
man even to the highest chief in the land on account 
of the blood-tie between them, and because of the 
bitter, undying hatred he showed to the white men. 
This she was always ready to stimulate, telling him 
scornfully that he knew not how to dispose of a rival 
or he would have enticed Christian from the village 
and killed him. 

Away to the westward the blue, sailless ocean 



PIPIRI THE AREOI 87 

sparkled and shimmered in the rays of the sun ; and 
nearer in, though far below where she sat, the long 
rollers of pale emerald swept in serried lines upon the 
shelving reef of the little bay, and wavering clouds of 
misty spume drifted slowly before the wind as the 
rollers curled over and burst upon the rocky barrier on 
their passage to the shore. 

For nearly an hour Mahina sat thus, hearing no 
sound save the soft crooning note of some resting 
pigeon in the silent forest around her, or the faint 
murmur of voices from a party of men in fishing 
canoes who had landed on the white beach far below ; 
then, with despair in her heart, she rose to return to 
the village. And there, with his back against the 
bole of a great tamanii tree, again stood Pipiri the 
Areoi, looking at her intently. 

" Why dost thou watch me ? " she asked, trying 
to pass him, but he stayed her gently with his 
hand. 

" Because, oh foolish one, I love thee, I love thee ; 
and I hate to see thy cheeks, that were once so round 
and soft, grow thin and drawn with the folly that is 
consuming thee. See," and he pointed with his 
bronzed and brawny arm to the ocean, "see how 
evenly the sky touches the water, as the half-shell 
of a coconut would stand upon my hand. No v/hite 
sail will break through the sky-rim, and no white 
man shall come between thee and me." 

" If Oro so wills it. But the time that my mother 
has given me to wait is not yet gone ; why dost thou 
for ever trouble me ? " 



88 THE MUTINEER 

'' Because Orotetefa ' hath spoken to me from his 
altar and told me to wait no longer, for thy white 
lover will never return. And to-morrow shall our 
marriage feast be." 

He ceased suddenly, for there was borne to them 
through the silence of the surrounding forest a cry 
that sent the blood dancing through the veins of the 
girl before him with a maddening joy — "A ship! 
a ship ! " 

She sprang away from him to the verge of the hill 
and there — not a far distant speck on the horizon, but 
rounding the northern point — was a ship, standing in 
before the breeze and furling her sails as she approached 
the anchorage. 

A quick mist filled the girl's dark eyes, and she 
staggered for a moment upon her feet. Then she 
turned and looked into the rage-distorted face of the 
Areoi priest. 

" Thou hast lied to me, Pipiri the Areoi." 

In another moment, evading the savage grasp with 
which he sought to stay her, she was flying down the 
hillside to the beach. 

' One of the guardian deities of the Areois. He was believed some- 
times to speak to any especially favoured worshipper. 



CHAPTER XI 



TOGETHER AGAIN 



BEFORE the panting girl reached the beach the 
Bounty was at anchor and her deck crowded 
with natives, who greeted Christian and the ship's 
company with the most extravagant manifestations of 
joy. For him personally they had always shown the 
liveliest regard ; not only was he one of Tuti's people, 
but his uniform kindness to them had won their hearts, 
and, indeed, Bligh himself was the only one of the 
Bounty s company whom they feared more than they 
loved. 

Tina himself was among the first to board the ship, 
and his frank, ingenuous countenance betrayed his 
astonishment at the return of his friends, while his 
wondering, inquiring glance as his eye roved over the 
group of officers on the poop-deck showed that he was 
quick to discover the absence of Bligh. 

" la oro na oe^ Kirhiani^^ ' he said with a smile, 
advancing to Christian, "and where is the chief 
Pirai ? And why hath the ship come back so soon ? 

' " May you live, Christian," the Tahitian form of greeting. 
89 



90 THE MUTINEER 

Hast thou already been to Peretane and returned in 
three moons ? " 

Fletcher Christian was quick with his answer. 
" Nay, Tina, friend of my heart, we have been 
fortunate. See, when we neared the island that is 
called Tonga ' we there met the great chief, he 
whom you call Tuti.^ He took on board his ship 
our chief Pirai and many others of our people and all 
the presents of breadfruit trees for our king. And 
then said he to me, * Go thou back, Kirisiani, to the 
country of Tina, my friend, and say these words to 
him, " I, Tuti, his friend, need yams and pigs and 
other food ; my people are many and I cannot feed 
them all, for the sea is wide between here and Britain.' 
And for these things have I returned to Tahiti, while 
Tuti awaits me at Tonga. And for a gift he hath 
sent thee by me much iron, for he knoweth that iron 
is needed by thy people." 

Tina smiled pleasantly and expressed his earnest 
desire to serve both Cook and Bligh ; and he and many 
minor chiefs who had flocked on board greeted every 
one of the mutineers as old and dear friends. 

For some minutes great excitement and confusion 
prevailed, and in the midst of the pleasant clamour 
a small canoe, paddled by two young women, ran 

' Tofoa would be unknown to Tina, who would, however, have been 
acquainted with the name of Tonga, in which group it is situated, 

^ Bligh, and his people on the Bounty, considered it advisable to care- 
fully conceal the fact of Cook's death from the Tahitians, This decep- 
tion was practised on account of the intense veneration the natives had 
for him, and Bligh feared that the disclosure of his death would have a 
bad effect on his mission. 



TOGETHER AGAIN 91 

alongside the ship, and Mahina sprang up the ladder 
on deck, and with a soft, joyous cry threw herself into 
Christian's arms. 

" Thou hast returned, my own," she murmured. 
" Oro hath heard my prayers, and thy heart is still 
mine." 

An angry flush for a moment suffused Christian's 
cheek at this demonstration before the whole ship's 
company, and drawing her aside he rebuked her. 

" Mahina," he said severely, " in my country it is 
only the base and lower sort who show their hearts in 
this way before all men." 

The girl trembled, but quickly recovered herself, 
and her dark eyes flashed. Drawing back from her 
lover she spoke in such tones of wounded pride that 
Christian felt his cheeks burn v/ith shame. 

" Truly, I had forgotten that the blood of the white 
man is cold," then placing her hands on her eyes, she 
walked away, and the hot tears trickled through her 
fingers. 

Few as were her words, they touched him. He 
remembered that since he had parted from this girl 
two months before the whole of his life had been 
changed. Her passionate devotion to him during the 
five months the Bounty first remained at Tahiti was 
the one bright spot which then had made life endurable, 
and now, her faithful heart bursting with love for him, 
he had met her tender embraces with what to her was 
cold brutality. " She alone is the only soul on earth 
who will love me to the end," he thought bitterly ; 
"she alone will not shrink from contact with me, 



92 THE MUTINEER 

in the time to come." He followed and took her 
hand. 

"Mahina," he whispered, "forgive me, for thou 
knowest that for thy sake I have thrown away for 
ever my country and kindred. Thou art the one 
woman dear to me in the world, and thy life is my 
life." 

She flung her arms round his neck and, caring not 
for those who stood about oh the Bounty's deck, kissed 
him again and again in all the abandonment of her 
fondness. 

Whispering that she might wait for him in the 
cabin, he gently disengaged her arms, and turned away 
to look for Tina. 

That night every one of the mutineers, except their 
chief and Smith, went ashore to their native friends ; 
and as the sound of their singing and dancing floated 
across the bay to the ship, Mahina, in the cabin of the 
Bounty^ lifted her eyes to Christian's and contentedly 
laid her head upon his breast. 



The Bounty was once more ready for sea. Great 
numbers of hogs, goats, and fowls were cheerfully 
given by the islanders to Christian and his com- 
panions, and, for a small parcel of some red feathers — 
which were highly prized by the natives — Tina 
presented them with a cow and bull which had been 
left on the island by Captain Cook. Water, wood, 
mahi (baked fermented breadfruit), yams, coconuts 
and breadfruit were also put on board in profusion. 



I 



TOGETHER AGAIN 93 

After making a careful survey of the ship and listening 
to various suggestions made by the crew for her 
repair, the leader of the mutineers went ashore for the 
last time before his marriage, which was to take place 
on the following day. 

Accompanied by Smith, the young man, after 
landing and pushing through the crowd of natives 
who had gathered on the beach and sought to 
detain him in friendly converse, made his way to 
a native house of considerable size and handsome 
construction. 

Here Heywood and Stewart were living. The 
latter had renewed his former tender relations with 
Nuia, who, the moment Christian entered, met him 
with a bright smile of welcome. 

Then she went for Stewart and Heywood, who 
were lying on the village lawn under the shade 
of a breadfruit tree. Christian had permitted the 
two young officers to leave the ship on the day 
after her arrival, principally because of the passionate 
entreaties of Nuia, who imagined he was her lover's 
enemy and would kill him for some neglect of duty, 
and secondly because he had induced both not to 
reveal the true cause of his return to the islanders, 
so long as the Bounty remained at Tahiti. As for the 
natives themselves, although they had begun to suspect 
that all things were not quite as the mutineers repre- 
sented them, yet they believed that Cook had good 
reasons for sending the ship back to Tahiti ; and that 
he had done so they never for a moment doubted. So 
Tina and his people were pleased enough when 



94 THE MUTINEER 

Christian proposed that some of them should sail away 
in the Bounty and visit Peretane and King George. 
To further the deception, Christian stated that he had 
no objection to some of his own men, who had allied 
themselves to native women, remaining behind at 
Tahiti. This proposal was made to account for the 
fact that besides Heywood and Stewart several of the 
crew had determined to sever themselves from the 
ship's company ; not for the same reasons which 
animated the two midshipmen, but because the women 
with whom they were living did not care to venture 
to sea in the " great outriggerless canoe." 

In a few minutes Heywood and Stewart entered the 
house. 

Both of them looked cheerful and well, and 
Christian could not help feeling pleased at the friendly 
manner in which they returned his greeting. 

" I have come to see you, perhaps for the last 
time," he said, " and to thank you for the manner in 
which you have kept your promise to a broken and 
disgraced man. Heaven knows, my lads, that I would 
gladly assist you to return to England if it were in my 
power. But have no fear ; that a ship will be sent 
out here is an absolute certainty." 

Heywood ventured to question him as to when he 
intended sailing. 

" Do not ask me," he replied hurriedly, while the 
hot blood mounted to his forehead ; " it may be soon, 
it may not be for a week, but I cannot come and see 
you again . . . and I want you to shake hands with 
me before I go." 



TOGETHER AGAIN 95 

After a momentary hesitation Stewart held out his 
hand, but young Heywood, whose eyes were filled 
with tears, with boyish impulsiveness sprang forward 
before his companion. 

" Goodbye, sir ; I will never forget how good you 
have always been to me on the Bounty.'''' 

Christian took their hands in his and wrung them. 
" Goodbye, my lads. God bleis you both, and forgive 
me all the harm I may have done you." 

Then he turned away, and with Smith closely 
following him, was soon lost to sight. 

Soon after dawn the village was astir with the pre- 
parations for Christian's marriage. 

Troops of natives carrying presents of food and 
other articles kept constantly arriving from all parts of 
the coast, and the first to welcome them and instruct 
them wliere to place their gifts was old Manuhuru, 
Mahina's mother. She was quick to recognise, as 
soon as Christian returned the possessor of so many 
riches, the advisability of withdrawing all further 
opposition to her daughter's marriage with the young 
Englishman ; for with all her hatred of the white 
men she was very avaricious. 

Only that morning she had bidden Pipiri give up 
all hope of her child now that Christian had returned ; 
and the young warrior-priest, with savage hatred in 
his heart, had cursed her and sworn yet to possess her 
daughter if fifty white men stood in his way. 

As Mahina was connected through her parents with 
the reigning family of Tahiti, the marriage ceremony 
was to be performed in the marae or temple of Oro 



96 THE MUTINEER 

instead of in the family marae^ and thither went all 
the people to witness the event. 

Mahina, sitting on a mat, was surrounded by a 
number of young girls who had arrayed her in her 
wedding garments ; at a sign from the officiating 
priest of Oro she rose and advanced to meet her white 
lover, who, attended by Alexander Smith and a number 
of young natives of strikingly handsome appearance, 
was now walking across the grassy sward towards her, 
his plain uniform contrasting strangely with the wild, 
yet picturesque, garb of his island friends, most of 
whom had their hair profusely decorated with wreaths 
of white and scarlet blossoms. Round each man's 
waist was a girdle composed of scarlet leaves of the t'l 
plant, and bright yellow strips of the plantain leaf. 
Upon each wrist and ankle were circlets of pieces 
of pearl shell fitted into an embroidered net work of 
red and black cinnet ; the islanders' light brown skins 
shone with the scented oil with which they had 
anointed themselves, and the beautiful curved lines or 
deep blue tattooing with which their bodies were so 
freely covered stood out with such startling distinct- 
ness that even Smith, the most tattooed man of all 
the bounty s crew, could not help uttering a cry or 
admiration. 

When about fifty reet distant from each other, the 
two parties stopped, and a pretty little maiden, carry- 
ing in her hand a ripe plantain and a young drinking 
coconut, advanced out from among the women sur- 
rounding Mahina, and addressed the young native 
chief who led Christian's party — 



TOGETHER AGAIN 



97 



"Who are ye that come here so gaily clad, and 
why do ye come ? " 

"I, Kirisiani, come to the altar of Oro so that I 
may take for my wife Mahina, daughter of Manuhuru," 
replied the mutineer, taking the plantain and coconut 
from her and giving her a piece of stained native cloth 
in return. 

The child returned to her party, who began to 
chant some verses in praise of the beauty of Mahina ; 
then the ranks opened out, and Christian, prompted 
by a chief, stepped to her side. 

Together they slowly walked to the marae^ where 
they seated themselves upon mats. Christian at one 
end of the temple, Mahina at the other, while the 
people disposed themselves round the sacred edifice in 
silence. 

The leafy screen in front of one of the sacred 
dormitories opened ; Harere, the priest, clothed in 
the vestments of his sacred office, stepped forward, 
and, spreading a small square of white tappa cloth 
in the centre of the temple, bade Mahina and the 
white man seat themselves upon it. Then, standing 
directly in front of Christian, he said, in a loud voice, 
" Kirisiani.^ taata Peretane^ eita anei oe e faa ''rue t ta 
oe vahinef'' ("Christian, the Englishman, wilt thou 
not cast away this woman ?") to which the mutineer 
replied '■^ Eita" ("No "). The same question was put to 
Mahina, and the girl, with a happy smile lighting up 
her lovely face, and her little hand pressing her lover's, 
quickly gave the same answer. 

" Fortunate then may your lives be if thus ye 
8 



98 THE MUTINEER 

remain true one to another," said Harere. Then 
stepping back from them and facing the sacred altar 
of Oro, the priest prayed to the god that the English- 
man and his wife might live together in affection, 
that male children might be given to them in the 
earlier years of their married life, that they might not 
"hunger nor thirst, nor see blood shed w^ithin their 
house." 

Then old Manuhuru stepped into the sacred en- 
closure, bearing in her hands a heavy piece of ahu 
vavauy or tappa cloth, w^hich she spread out upon 
the stone floor of the temple ; and Harere the priest 
bade the lovers sit upon it and hold each other by the 
hand while he again addressed them. 

" Hearken, Englishman. It is the custom of this 
land for the man and the woman who marry before 
Oro and sit as thou and this woman sit now, to place 
before them the skulls of their ancestors, whose 
spirits, entering into the dead bones, will hear the 
vows that ye have made one to the other. But thou, 
Kirisiani, art from a far-off country, and it is not the 
custom of thy people to carry about with them on the 
sea the skulls of their forefathers. And the mother of 
thy wife, though now as we are, Tahitian, is, like 
thee, of strange blood — her mother's people came 
from a distant land which sprang from out the sea, 
and neither hath she a skull to place before thee. 
And for this does Manuhuru now make a sacrifice 
before Oro." 

He handed to Mahina's mother a large shark's tooth 
with the base embedded in a piece of polished wood. 



TOGETHER AGAIN 99 

Advancing to Christian, the old woman seized his 
right arm and made a small cut with the sharp point 
of the tooth upon the palm of his hand, then did the 
same upon the hand of her daughter. As the blood 
flowed and dripped down she caught it upon a piece 
of cloth with her left hand, and with her right she 
thrust the keen-edged tooth into her own breast, brow, 
and left shoulder, over and over again. 

" See, white man," she croaked. " Once I hated 
thee and all white men, but now thy blood and mine 
and my daughter's have mixed. And if thy blood is 
as good as mine — for I am of Afita— then does this 
mingling of it with mine render thee equal to Mahina ; 
and, moreover, the mixing of blood shall bind thee 
closer to thy wife." 

Scarcely able to conceal his disgust at the frightful 
spectacle the old woman presented, with her face and 
shoulders streaming with blood. Christian was glad to 
submit to the concluding part of the ceremony, which 
was the brief suspension over the heads of the married 
pair of a large piece of cloth called te tapoi. 

Leaving the temple Christian and his bride were 
escorted to a new house specially prepared for them in 
which to receive their presents, and the young man 
could not but be touched at the people's expression of 
their kindly feeling towards him, and the overwhelm- 
ing display of their generosity. 

The rest of the day was spent in the wildest enjoy- 
ment and sumptuous feasting ; then when darkness 
descended upon the scene the women and girls sang 
and danced, and a band of Areois delighted the people 



loo THE MUTINEER 

by their wild pantomimic exhibitions far into the 
night. 

But in the midst of the merry clamour Mahina, 
without bidding her aged mother farewell, stole quietly 
away to the ship to await her husband, who had gone 
to take leave of Tina. As she paddled off alone in a 
tiny canoe, the tall, stalwart figure of Pipiri the Areoi 
appeared on the beach. For a few seconds he watched 
her as she disappeared in the darkness. Then he 
plunged into the water and swam noiselessly in the 
same direction. 

Long before daylight next morning Mahina awoke 
and found that her husband was gone from her side. 
A wild look of fear for a moment blanched her olive 
cheek ; then a smile parted her lips as she heard his 
voice on deck. 

" Man the capstan, lads." 

She ran on deck and found the ship crowded with 
natives, among whom were Tina and his noble wife, 
who wept when Christian bade them farewell. To 
King George the chief sent many messages, for he 
firmly believed that the Bounty was on her way to 
England. 

Amid the sounds of weeping and the sighing of 
tender farewells the anchor came in sight, the 
ship's head swung round, and the Bounty was again 
under way. 

Once outside the white line of foaming surge which 
thundered on the reef, Edward Young, who had been 
securing the anchor, came quietly aft and stood beside 
his wife Alrema, who, with Mahina and other women, 



TOGETHER AGAIN loi 

was on the poop. Presently, as Ch/istian passed, 
Young caught him by the arm. 

"I didn't like to disturb you lact night, an c! stf 
acted on my own responsibility. Stewart and 
Heywood came on board and announced their 
determination to sail with us if you would permit 
them." 

Fletcher Christian's face darkened. " Stewart and 
Heywood ! What does this mean ? " 

" Treachery," answered Young, " and I determined 
to meet treachery with deceit. I told them that I 
was certain you would never consent to their coming 
on board again, but that if they liked to stow them- 
selves away till we got out to sea I would not say 
anything about it, but let them discuss the matter 
with you afterwards." 

" Are you mad, Young, to do this ? " 

The sallow-faced midshipman laughed. " Not a 
bit of it. They might do us more harm by remaining 
at Tahiti than they would by coming with us. 
Stewart has Nuia with him, and although she is as 
true as steel to the chicken-hearted dog, she has let it 
out to Alrema that he persuaded Heywood to come 
on board with him last night." 

" What do you think is his intention ? " asked 
Christian moodily. 

" To recapture the ship, and try to sail her to 
England and get a commission — while we dangle 
from a yard-arm at Portsmouth." 

" Then why let them come on board ? " 

" Vo prevent their giving us trouble in the future. 



102 THE MUTINEER 

'f hfeie are loi-S of islands where no ships are ever likely 
to touch, and we can put them ashore before we 
reach TuDuai- — and be damned to them." 

" To let them perhaps die, with their fate unknown ! 
But there, Young, forgive me. You have done wisely. 
Let them come on deck, and I will watch them 
closely till a fitting time arrives for us to rid ourselves 
of them." 

On board the Bounty were several native women, 
the wives of Smith, Quintal, and McCoy, and two 
Tahitian men, brothers of Smith's and Quintal's 
wives, who had determined to accompany the white 
men. These Christian was glad to see, as he thought 
they would prove useful as interpreters. 

But an hour later, after his talk with Young, and 
when the land was twenty miles astern, it was found 
that many more natives had hidden themselves on 
board, and that altogether the Bounty's complement 
had been increased by twelve women, eight boys, and 
nine men. 



CHAPTER XII 



THE END OF PIPIRI 



SEVEN days later the ship was once more at 
Tubuai, but the passage had been so rough that 
most of the live stock were washed overboard, and 
the natives had to help work the ship. To add 
to the troubles of the voyage, Mahina and the other 
women suffered so much from sickness that they were 
in the last stage of exhaustion when Tubuai was 
sighted. And Christian, who, from the hour he had 
plunged into the mutiny had repented it, grew morose 
and miserable with the bitterness of unavailing regret 
and the anxieties of his position as leader. 

Well it was for him that at this time and in the 
black days to come, the example of Smith and Young 
kept alive in the rest of the crew a respect for him ; 
for these two men, by their undeviating loyalty to 
their leader and their influence for good with their 
fellow-mutineers, preserved the spirit of obedience to 
their chief, and thus averted the worst danger that 
could threaten such a company. 

As the ship entered the passage, the Tubuaians, 
103 



104 THE MUTINEER 

instead of attacking the ship as it was feared they 
would, came off in their canoes in great numbers, 
and seeing the Tahitians on board, quickly made 
friends with them. They clambered up the sides of 
the Bounty, seized the ropes, and helped the sailors to 
warp the vessel through the reef to a safe anchorage. 
In a very short time barter was begun ; Christian, 
accompanied by Mahina, went ashore, and with her 
aid as interpreter he soon negotiated with the chief of 
the island for a strip of land on which to erect a fort. 

But the Tubuaians were less friendly when they 
found that the white men intended to live among 
them, and they sought to withdraw from the treaty 
they had just made. 

" We like not the white strangers," said one of 
them to Mahina. " How comes it that if, as thou 
sayest, the white chief is thy husband he remained not 
with thee in the Big Land ? ^ Why comes he here 
to seek a home ? " 

" Foolish man," answered the wily Mahina haugh- 
tily. " Little dost thou know of the customs of these 
clever white men. They are as wise as the gods, and 
like not the ways of the people of Tahiti. And the 
men of Peretane are more like those of Tubuai — they 
eat and drink and live alike — and for this reason do 
they desire to remain on Tubuai." 

This compliment, and the gift of a quantity of iron, 
induced the Tubuaians to offer no further opposi- 
tion. The ground was to the eastward of the 
entrance at a place called Avamoa ; and here, in 

• Tahiti. 



THE END OF PIPIRI 105 

spite of shoal water and the numberless coral boulders 
which studded the lagoon, it was determined to 
bring the Bounty. 

The ship was lightened as much as possible — no 
easy task, for there was but one boat — and after much 
labour she was brought close up to the site of the pro- 
posed fort and moored in six fathoms of water. For 
two days the work of lightening the ship proceeded 
steadily, and Christian took part with the others in the 
task. The Tubuaians lent some assistance ; but their 
habits of pilfering at last brought such an explosion of 
wrath from the leader of the mutineers that they de- 
sisted, and matters again went on smoothly for a time. 

It was the custom of Mahina, Alrema, Nuia, and 
the other Tahitian women to sit about the poop and 
watch the labours of their white husbands, and listen 
to the loud, excited cries of the half-naked, fierce- 
looking Tubuaians as they swarmed about the main 
deck, examining with intense curiosity the strange 
fittings of the ship, and arguing vociferously among 
themselves as to their use. 

Late one afternoon, just after the last boat load had 
left for the site of the fort, and the wild islanders 
had gone ashore in their canoes, Mahina was 
standing alone at the stern. Gazing down into the 
transparent depths of the lagoon and watching the 
many-hued fish that swam in and out among the 
branches of the coral forest which covered the 
bottom, she was startled by a touch upon the shoulder, 
and turning, she met the face of Pipiri the Areoi, 
looking at her with intense hatred gleaming from his 



io6 THE MUTINEER 

eyes. So changed was he by his sickness on the 
voyage that she could not recognise him, and, in 
addition to this (perhaps for the purpose of disguise), 
he had shaved his head completely, and his once care- 
fully trimmed beard had disappeared. 

She uttered a cry of alarm, and in an instant Chris- 
tian was beside her. 

" What is the matter ? " he asked. 

With terror in her face she pointed to Pipiri and 
murmured : " 'Tis Pipiri the Areoi ; he hath frightened 
me. 

Christian looked at the Tahitian and gradually 
recognised his features, and remembered that the 
people at Pare and Matavai had told him that if he 
had not returned the Areoi would have married 
Mahina. 

" How do you come here ? " he asked. 

" I was hidden in the bowels of the ship," answered 
the man, defiantly. He staggered as he spoke, and 
Christian correctly surmised that some of the seamen 
had given him rum to drink. 

" But why ? What good can come of this ? " 

" That I might be with Mahina — she of whom 
thou hast robbed me," he replied savagely. 

" Poor fool," muttered the mutineer in English, 
adding in Tahitian, " Truly I pity thee, but yet thou 
art a fool to have hidden thyself in the ship ; for now 
will I make thee work and thou shalt be a bond slave 
to thy countrymen." 

" Not so," answered the Areoi proudly. " Have 
not others of my countrymen come with thee ; why, 



THE END OF PIPIRI 107 

then, should I not live in Tubuai as an Areoi and an 
Aito ? " (a warrior). 

"I will answer thee, Pipiri the slaughterer, thou 
cruel and bloody-handed man " — and Mahina faced 
him. "Thou hast come for no good purpose ; and 
truly we should be foolish to trust thee, save as a slave 
may be trusted. Do I not know that thou hast sworn 
to be revenged because I would have none of thee ? " 
Turning to her husband she coutinued, " Send this 
man away. Let him go live among the Tubuaians, 
and suffer him not to come near the ship nor our 
people. I know his bad and cruel heart." 

The Tahitian laughed hoarsely. "Truly, Mahina, 
thou art a clever woman. I indeed will go and live 
with the people of Tubuai ; but I swear by my gods 
to return and take my revenge." 

The next instant he sprang over the side, and 
Christian, in an endeavour to soothe his wife's fears 
and at her earnest entreaty, gave the order that he 
was not to be allowed to approach the whites in 
future. 

Parties were now formed to fell timber, the fort was 
planned, and men under the direction of Edward 
Young began to dig a moat round the site. The 
Bounty^s armament of four four-pounders and ten 
swivels was got on shore ; the Tahitians who had 
accompanied the ship took an active part in the work, 
principally because of the probability of their seeing 
the guns used in action against the Tubuaians and 
witnessing the destruction the weapons would accom- 
plish. 



io8 THE MUTINEER 

All this labour took some weeks to perform, and 
during that time it daily became more evident that the 
people of Tubuai disliked their visitors ; indeed, during 
the last days of unloading the ship and digging the 
moat two or three skirmishes took place between 
them and the white men and their Tahitian allies. 

Early in September, however, so far had the work 
of constructing the fort progressed, that most of the 
people left the ship and took up their quarters therein. 
The four-pounders and swivels were mounted in such 
a position as to make Christian perfectly sure that, 
should the Tubuaians attack the stronghold, they 
would suffer a disastrous defeat. But while aware 
that such an attack might be made, he was yet 
hopeful that ere long they would recognise his desire 
to live among them in peace. Mahina, day after day, 
went into the principal town, and strove to impress 
the head chief, Maouri, that the white men's advent 
would prove of advantage to his people. Still, though 
they received the beautiful Tahitian with the greatest 
courtesy and respect, they were cold and suspicious in 
their manner. One day, when accompanied by Alrema, 
she visited the village, they found the whole population 
assembled in the square, listening to an address by an 
orator. The moment the two women came in view 
the orator disappeared, not so quickly but that in him 
they had recognised Pipiri the Areoi. 

"Let us go back," Mahina said to Young's wife; 
" mischief is meant to us in the fort ; else why should 
these people gather together to listen to Pipiri, who 
is the enemy of us all ? " 



THE END OF PIPIRI 109 

Fearing that an attack was intended, Christian, as 
soon as Mahina told him what she had seen, doubled 
jl his sentries and kept a careful watch. For two nights 
I they were undisturbed, but on the third, just after 
I darkness had settled on the island, Talalu, a Tahitian 
■ sentry on the western face of the fort, called them to 
arms. 

Scarcely had they time to snatch up their weapons 
and fire a volley, when a large party of the islanders 
surrounded the fort on three sides and began a deter- 
mined assault. With wild cries of defiance and in 
face of a continuous fire of musketry and grape from 
the swivels, they jumped into the moat and scrambled 
up on the other side. Scores of them were shot down 
as they appeared over the bank, for many carried 
torches made of the spathe of the coconut tree, with 
which they intended to fire the buildings within by 
throwing them over the palisade of coconut logs that 
enclosed it. The light from these torches, slight as 
it was, showed the assailants so clearly to Christian's 
garrison, that ere they could form for their second 
rush McCoy, Quintal and Smith each fired a swivel 
loaded with grape into the surging mass. Dreadful 
cries of agony followed, and so terrified were the 
Tubuaians at the awful effects of the fire that they 
wavered and were about to retreat. Instantly half a 
dozen chiefs, waving their spears, sprang to the front ; 
then the attacking party, beating their battle-drums 
loudly, again advanced to the assault. 

Suddenly, as the dark, waving line of Tubuains 
swept over the undulating ground which lay between 



no THE MUTINEER 

them and the western face of the fort, a blaze of light 
lit up the surrounding forest, and Mahina and the 
other women appeared beside the white men, carrying 
torches which revealed not only the naked forms of 
the savages now trying to scale the palisade, but also 
the dead and wounded who had fallen from the white 
men's first fire, and who lay on the edge of and in the 
bottom of the moat. So irresistible, however, was the 
rush of the assailants, that fifteen or sixteen of them 
succeeded in clambering over the stockade and jumping 
down into the fort. Armed with a short stabbing 
spear in the left and a heavy ebony-wood club in the 
right hand, these daring fellows made a rush at Chris- 
tian, McCoy, and Smith, who were firing through 
the palisade at the swarm of yelling savages outside. 
Loud warning cries from Mahina and Alrema made 
Christian turn suddenly, but too late to avoid a vicious 
thrust from a spear, which passed through his left arm. 
Then came the report of a pistol close to him — 
the rush of foemen bore him back to the palisade 
bruised, stunned, and bleeding, and there he fell 
exhausted. 

Flinging the blazing torches into the centre of the 
fort, the women with knives and cutlasses in their 
hands, sprang down from where they stood to help 
their white husbands ; and while some continued to 
fire at point-blank range into the thick mass of natives 
outside, the rest of the white men and Tahitians made 
short work of those within. Soon not one was left 
alive ; the women, at the command of Mahina, seized 
all their dead bodies, save one, dragged thern to the 



THE END OF PIPIRI in 

top of the palisade and with cries of contempt hurled 
them over among the assailants. 

For nearly ten minutes more the Tubuaians sought 
to force an entrance through the stout logs, heedless 
of the fire from the seamen's muskets, which were 
thrust through the spaces and discharged with deadly 
effect. Seizing the musket barrels the valorous 
savages by sheer strength tore them from the hands 
of those who held them, then with cries of defiance 
thrust their spears through the same apertures. By 
this time three of the white men had received severe 
wounds, and Young was just about to remove one of 
the four-pounders from where it was mounted to that 
part of the palisading where the assault was heaviest, 
when the Tubuaians broke and fled. 

"Whew !" said Young, wiping his powder-blackened 
face and addressing Christian, whose arm was being 
bound up by Mahina and Talalu, " that was warm 
while it lasted. Not badly hurt, I trust. Christian ? " 

" No," answered the leader, " only a thrust from a 
spear through the arm ; the rascal meant it for my 
heart, though," and then he closed his eyes from 
weakness. Round him stood the seamen, stripped to 
their waists, with cutlasses and muskets gleaming in 
the dying light of the torches which still lay burning 
on the ground. With one hand leaning on her 
husband's shoulder, in the other a cutlass bloody from 
hilt to point, was Alrema. Like the men around her 
she was bare to the waist, and her shapely arms and 
bosom were as ensanguined as the weapon she carried. 

" Nay, Etuati," she panted with a smile when 



112 THE MUTINEER 

the light shone on her all but nude figure, and 
startled Young, " 'tis not my blood that thou seest ; 
not once did a spear touch me. Ah, these dogs of 
Tubuai ! Ah, my husband, thou didst not know that 
in our country we women go to war side by side with 
our husbands and our lovers." 

Stern and callous as he was by nature, the young 
man shuddered visibly as he looked at the shocking 
appearance of his young wife ; stretching out his hand 
he unclasped hers from the cutlass, and gently led her 
towards the hut in which she slept. 

Christian rose to his feet and was about to follow 
them when Mahina stayed him. " Dost thou know 
whose was the hand that sent the spear ? " she asked. 
" Come with me and I will show thee." 

In the middle of the stockade lay a naked savage. 
By the light of the torch held by Mahina, Christian 
saw the tatooing on the dead man's back and legs, and 
knew that he was a Tahitian. 

Stooping down, Mahina turned the body over, and 
pointed to the face. 

" Pipiri ! " exclaimed Christian. 

" Aye, Pipiri the Areoi ; he who swore to have 
thy life and mine." 

" Poor devil," said Christian in English, and then to 
Mahina, " he hath a bullet hole through his chest. 
Who killed him ? " 

" I," she answered, holding out Young's pistol — the 
pistol with which he had once sworn to kill Captain 
Bligh. 



CHAPTER XIII 



FAREWELL TO TUBUAI 



FOR a few days after the battle the white men 
remained undisturbed in the fort ; but instead 
of the elation that might have been expected from 
such a decisive victory, there now fell upon the 
mutineers a strange, brooding feeling of discontent. 

Stewart and Heywood, ever bent upon retaking the 
ship and returning with her to England, had again suc- 
ceeded in alienating some of the men from Christian, 
whose disregard of their wishes to remain at Tahiti 
had aroused their resentment. 

Working upon this, Stewart, little by little, brought 
some of these men to believe that if they aided him in 
recovering the ship, they would not only be given a 
free pardon for any actual part taken in the mutiny, 
but would be rewarded for their loyalty to Heywood 
and himself. Tired of the hardships and discomforts 
of settlement on an island where the natives were so 
hostile, and already regretting their severance from 
civilisation, they were not long in promising to aid the 

9 "3 



114 THE MUTINEER 

two midshipmen in any scheme devised to recapture 
the Bounty and sail her to England ; or, failing that, 
to return to Tahiti and give themselves up to the 
King's ship that they knew would be sent in search 
of them. 

Morrison, the boatswain's mate, in particular, pro- 
fessed his readiness at any time that Stewart and 
Heywood might appoint to join them in either 
seizing the ship and making Christian and Young 
prisoners, or escaping from Tubuai and returning to 
Tahiti, and Alexander Smith, ever on the alert in 
his devotion to Christian, soon discovered that a second 
plot had been devised by Stewart, Heywood, and 
Morrison to steal the boat, provision her, and escape 
in the night. It became evident to Christian that his 
authority would be gone if he did not either make 
some concessions, or crush the malcontents at once 
and for ever. After discussing the matter seriously 
with Smith and Young, he called the people together 
and addressed them. 

" You all seem so discontented with this place," 
said he, " and there are, I find, so many of you who 
will not hesitate to turn traitors to the rest of us, that 
I have determined, if you are agreed, to return to 
Tahiti. There, those who wish to separate from me 
can go, and those who wish to remain with me can 
do so." 

This proposal was at once agreed to. It was also 
resolved to divide into two parts the ship's stores 
and fairly share them between the two parties ; then 
those who chose to do so could go ashore at Tahiti, 



FAREWELL TO TUBUAI 115 

and those who desired to stand by Christian could 
accompany him in the ship to some island afterwards 
to be decided upon by himself and his adherents. 

And so once more the worn-out old Bounty was 
floated out to deep water, and all hands set to work 
to take on board her stores and armament again. 
That part of their labour accomplished, Christian 
sent parties out to collect the remainder of the live 
stock, which had not been seen since the attack on 
the fort. 

But again the islanders attacked them in such force, 
and with such undaunted courage and fierce resolu- 
tion, that the landing-party had to retreat to the ship ; 
and, indeed, they narrowly escaped being cut off 
before the boat could rescue them. 

Christian, who was engaged with Mahina, Alrema, 
and some Tahitians in bending on the Bounty s after 
canvas, at once opened fire from the ship to cover the 
retreat of his men ; as soon as the boat came alongside 
he ordered those in her on deck for a glass of grog, 
and leaving the women to guard the ship, led a strong 
party on shore to make a second attempt. 

For nearly a mile they marched through the rich 
tropical forest without molestation ; then there 
suddenly broke forth the deafening rattle of the native 
battle-drums, and some five hundred Tubuaians — 
among them many women — sprang out from their 
ambush and made a furious attack with clubs, spears, 
and slings. Fortunately the ground favoured the 
white men, six of whom were armed with muskets 
loaded with slugs, and these inflicted terrible slaughter 



ii6 THE MUTINEER 

at the first volley. Twice did the Tubuains make 
determined efforts to break through and separate the 
white men, but throwing down their muskets and 
keeping the Tahitians in the centre, the seamen drew 
their cutlasses and hewed and slashed at the naked 
bodies of the savages till the leafy ground was soaked 
and soddened into a bloody mire. But for the 
slaughter inflicted by the muskets of the Tahitians, 
however, the enemy would have borne them down by 
sheer force of numbers. Christian, whose great 
strength and skill in all muscular exercises had made 
him famous in Tahiti, fought with such courage and 
fury that he soon had a pile of dead and dying 
Tubuaians forming a breastwork around him ; and, 
leaning his weapon over their bodies, Talalu, the big 
Tahitian, fired into the enemy at such close range 
that the natives at last wavered, broke, and fled. 

So exhausted, however, were Christian and his 
party, many of whom were badly wounded by spear- 
thrusts, that all further attempt to recover the stock 
was abandoned, and after two or three hours' rest they 
returned to the ship. At the landing-place they were 
met by a friendly chief, named Tairoa-Maina, and 
two of his friends, who, always having been well- 
disposed to Christian, took no part in the assault. 
They had just arrived from the principal village, 
where the bodies of those who fell in the attack were 
brought, and with grim satisfaction the mutineers 
learnt that fifty-six men and seven women had been 
killed and twice as many badly wounded, principally 
by cutlasses and musket slugs. 



FAREWELL TO TUBUAI 117 

Fearing to remain on the island after the ship 
sailed, Tairoa-Maina besought Christian as his pledged 
taioj or friend, to take him and his two companions 
away with him. To this the mutineer consented. 

On the following day, all being in readiness, the 
ship well stocked with provisions, and the wind being 
from the S.E. the Bounty once more got under weigh. 
Three days later she was off the island of Maitea, a 
high, verdure-clad spot about seven miles in extent, 
lying thirty miles due east from the southern point 
of Tahiti. 

Running in close under the lee side. Christian 
hove-to the ship, called all hands aft, and divided 
everything on board into two lots in readiness for the 
time of separation. Then, before the lusty trade 
wind, the 'Bounty, not waiting for the crowd of canoes 
that were paddling eagerly off towards her filled with 
natives shouting welcome, stood away due west. At 
dusk Tahiti was in sight, and on the following 
morning the ship once more lay at anchor in Matavai 
Bay. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE LAST SAILING OF THE " BOUNTY " 

ONCE more were the white men welcomed with 
unaffected joy by the simple-hearted Tahitians, 
who yet wondered at their second return and made many 
inquiries as to its cause. Among those who thronged on 
board were the relatives of Pipiri the Areoi ; these 
told enigmatically by Mahina that the priest would be 
long in returning, were at first angry and then sus- 
picious ; but when in answer to a direct question put 
to Christian, they learned that he had been killed in 
a fight against his countrymen and their white friends, 
they were seized with shame and retired with downcast 
faces. Later on in the day came Tina and his beautiful 
wife, who welcomed Christian and his comrades with 
every demonstration of affection and esteem, though 
they too m.arvelled at the second return of the Bounty; 
this Christian did not attempt to explain, knowing that 
those Tahitians who accompanied the ship would not 
fail to tell their countrymen of all the events that had 
transpired since they sailed from Tahiti. But Tina 
expressed his delight at hearing from Christian that 

Il8 



THE LAST SAILING OF THE "BOUNTY" 119 

many of the Bounty^s crew had returned for the pur- 
pose of living among his people, and readily gave 
assistance to land the stores belonging to the shore 
party. 

For the third time the ship was now wooded and 
watered and prepared for sea. When everything was 
in readiness, Christian mustered the hands, and desired 
all those who wished to remain on shore to go to the 
larboard side of the ship, and all those who intended to 
remain by him to the starboard. The first to step over 
to the larboard were Stewart and Heywood, who were 
at once followed by thirteen seamen. His own party 
Christian found to consist of Edward Young, his next 
in command ; Mills, the gunner's mate ; Brown, the 
gardener ; Martin, McCoy, Williams, Quintal, and, 
of course, the faithful Alexander Smith ; besides these 
there stepped over to starboard Tarioa-Maina, the 
young Tubuaian chief, his two friends, and three 
Tahitian men with their wives, one of whom bore 
in her arms a female infant. Each of Christian's 
white followers had with him a native wife, and 
thus the whole of his party totalled twenty-eight 
persons. 

For a moment or two Christian looked from one to 
another of those ranged on the larboard side, then told 
them in an unmoved voice to get into the boat. In a 
kv/ minutes they were gone, and the boat was being 
pulled shorewards. Turning to those of the ship's 
company who were still standing on the starboard side, 
he informed them of his intention to sail in a day or 
two, and said he would be pleased if they would not 



I20 THE MUTINEER 

visit the shore again. This they unhesitatingly- 
promised. 

That night — the 22nd of September — he went on 
shore in a canoe and, landing a short distance from the 
village, made his way to the house of the chief Tipa'uu, 
the father of Nuia, Stewart's wife. 

Entering quietly he found the two youths in con- 
versation with the old chief. 

" I have come," he said, " to say goodbye again. Let 
us now speak together for the last time, and bury the 
past. I can never forget that until that morning 
in April we were always good friends. Shake hands 
then, my lads, for the last time." 

"I am very sorry all this has happened, sir," said 
young Heywood, "and only just now Stewart admitted 
that you were sorely tempted," and he held out his 
hand. 

" God knows. Christian," said Stewart, " I bear you 
no malice, for I cannot forget that after we gave you 
our promise not to interfere with your plans I induced 
Heywood to join me in breaking that promise. I can 
only plead as my excuse that I never intended to be false 
to that pledge ; but seeing many of the men were 
ripe to join me in the attempt to retake the ship I felt 
justified in breaking it. I can only say again that 
although you have damned our prospects in life I freely 
forgive you." 

" Not so, Stewart," said the mutineer, " your reputa- 
tion as a loyal officer shall not suffer, nor shall this 
boy's. You are both innocent of participating in my 
crime. Be guided by me. Bligh will probably reach 



THE LAST SAILING OF THE "BOUNTY" izi 

England ; whether he does so or not a ship will be sent 
out to search for us. When she arrives here, go off at 
once to her and give yourselves up to the commander. 
Tell him, as I tell you now, that this disaster was 
brought about entirely by me, and I alone am respon- 
sible for the act." 

" I fear that we shall have difficulty in clearing our- 
selves," answered Stewart, moodily. 

" Not if you give yourselves up at once and tell the 
exact truth. No one, not even my followers, not even 
I myself, thought of mutiny until I came on deck in 
the morning watch, and then the temptation suddenly 
came upon me. You both know what a life that 
damned scoundrel — God forgive me if I speak of a dead 
man — led us all, and how he picked me out particularly 
for his insults and unaccountable malice." 

" That is true enough ; the wonder is that you bore 
with him so long. But it is too late to talk of that 
now," said Stewart, with a ring of sympathy in his 
voice ; "when do you sail, and where are you 
going ? " 

" My dear lads," he answered mournfully, " where 
I am going is a question I cannot answer, and if I 
could it would be better unanswered, for you will be 
asked what has become of me. I shall leave at daylight 
and probably search for some uninhabited island on 
which to spend the remainder of my life." 

" The natives say you do not intend sailing for a day 
or two." 

" No, Stewart. I gave that out on purpose ; every 
one is on board and all is ready, and I hope to be clear 



122 THE MUTINEER 

of the bay to-morrow morning, before even a native is 
awake, and so by that means avoid the fuss of another 
leave-taking." 

He was silent for a while, then turning to Heywood, 
earnestly besought him to see his relatives in England 
and tell them the truth. " Remember," said he, " when 
you reach England my people will have learned to hate 
and despise me as a mutineer. Tell them what you 
have seen of my sufferings and my provocation, and ask 
them to forgive me." 

Silence fell upon them again in the darkened house, 
and nought was heard save the heavy breathing of the 
mutineer. Suddenly he rose, grasped their hands with- 
out a word, and, turning away, walked slowly down to 
the white line of beach whereon his canoe lay. 

Old Tipa'uu awaking from his sleep a (ew minutes 
later, kindled afresh the dying fire, and as the flame 
leapt up and illuminated the house he saw that the 
faces of Stewart and Heywood were wet with tears. 

An hour before daylight Fletcher Christian, who had 
been shut up for some hours alone in his cabin, came on 
deck and called the hands, and ere the mists of Orohena 
had begun to float away before the chilly breaths of the 
land breeze, the bounty s anchor was up to her bow, 
and, with all her canvas spread, she was slipping out of 
the bay. 

When daylight broke the natives gave a cry of 
astonishment, for the ship had disappeared. 

***** 

The story of those of the mutineers who remained 
at Tahiti can be told in a it.\\ words. Who has not 



THE LAST SAILING OF THE "BOUNTY" 123 

heard of the horrors of the Pandora'' s " box," the term 
applied to the round house built by the merciless 
Captain Edwards of the Pandora frigate on the deck 
of his ship as a prison for his wretched captives. 

The Pandora^ sent out to search for the mutineers, 
arrived at Tahiti on March 23, 1791. The sailors 
surrendered themselves, two seamen, Thompson and 
Churchill excepted, for the last-named had been 
murdered sometime previously by Thompson, who in 
turn was killed by the Tahitians, not before he richly 
deserved death for his atrocious crimes. 

The white men had occupied their time on shore 
in building a schooner in which some had intended to 
leave the island, but they were unable to put to sea 
for want of sails. 

Stewart's wife, Nuia, who was the daughter of the 
chief with whom he lived, had borne a child, and her 
love for her white husband has formed the theme of 
many a Tahitian love song. When the Pandora 
sailed the heart-rending grief of this gentle girl 
affected even the rough seamen whose duty it was to 
force her away from Stewart's side. Six weeks after 
she died of a broken heart. 

Amid the tears and lamentations of the Tahitians, 
the frigate left with her prisoners on the 19th of May, 
the little schooner sailing with her. From the day 
the unhappy men surrendered until their arrival at the 
Cape of Good Hope, they were all treated with great 
brutality by Edwards — Heywood and Stewart, officers 
and mere youths as they were, receiving no more 
mercy at his hands than did the others. 



124 THE MUTINEER 

Three months were spent by the Pandora in a vain 
search for the Bounty and those on board, and then 
the frigate was headed for Timor ; on August 28th, 
while making her way through Endeavour Strait, ^^ 
she crashed on a reef, and on the following day was 
abandoned a total wreck. 

The previous inhumanity of Captain Edwards towards 
his prisoners was, immediately after the ship struck, 
if possible, increased. For a long time he made no 
attempt to save them with the rest of the ship's 
company. From the box in which they were con- 
fined the only means of egress was by a scuttle on the 
top. 

Some of them, as the Pandora rolled and dashed 
them, heavily ironed as they were, from one side to 
the other of their dreadful prison, bruised and 
bleeding, cried out that they would be drowned like 
rats in a hole, for already the vessel was breaking up 
fast, but their vindictive gaoler ordered them to be 
quiet or they would be fired upon. Only at the last 
moment did he give the order to take their irons off; 
and then, if it had not been for the humanity of one 
of the Pandora's boatswain's mates, they would all have 
been drowned. He, brave fellow, hearing their cries, 
declared he would either free them or drown with 
them ; he dropped the keys of their irons through the 
scuttle, and with the greatest difficulty (for the water 
was up to his waist) forced off the iron bar which 
kept the scuttle closed. 

When the survivors reached a small sand quay and 

' Now know as Torres Straits. 



THE LAST SAILING OF THE "BOUNTY" 125 

Edwards mustered them it was found that thirty-one 
of the frigate's crew and Stewart and three of the 
Bounty's seamen were drowned. 

Then began a long voyage to Coupang on the 
island of Timor, there being ninety-nine persons in all, 
divided between three boats. The story of their 
dreadful sufferings need not here be told ; but after a 
voyage of nineteen days, on September 19th, two of 
the boats reached Coupang, the third arriving three 
days later. From Coupang they were conveyed in a 
Dutch ship to Java, where they found the Resolution 
— the schooner built by the Bounty s people at Tahiti 
— which had early parted company with the Pandora 
and had arrived six weeks before, her crew having 
endured similar privations. From Batavia they were 
taken to the Cape of Good Hope, their numbers 
having been increased at a former place by the addition 
of more prisoners — the survivors of the Bryant party, 
eleven convicts who had escaped from Sydney.' 

Embarking in the Gorgon^ man-of-war, at the Cape, 
Edwards and his unfortunate prisoners at last reached 
England safely, and the mutineers were tried by 
court-martial. Bligh was not present, having sailed 
on a second voyage to Tahiti for another cargo of 
of breadfruit plants. 

The trial ended in the acquittal of three sea- 
men and the conviction of six others, among them 

' Publisher's Note. — The story of the memorable voyage of the unfor- 
tunate convict, Will Bryant, his wife Mary, her two infant children and 
seven male convicts has been told by the authors of this work in a book 
entitled " A First Fleet Family,'' 



126 THE MUTINEER 

Heywood. The general tenor of the evidence went 
to prove Morrison and Heywood innocent. But Bligh 
had left behind him statements inculpating these men. 
The Admiralty, after the court-martial was over, con- 
sidered the evidence and ultimately unconditionally 
pardoned Heywood, Morrison, and a seaman named 
Muspratt, and executed the others. 

Heywood and Morrison were permitted to re-enter 
the service, and both of then had honourable careers, 
the first after attaining the rank of captain died full of 
years and honours in 1831, and Morrison became 
gunner of the Blenhehn^ in which ship, in 1807, he v/as 
lost with all hands. 



END OF PART I 



PART II 

CHAPTER XV 

THE SEARCH FOR A RESTING-PLACE 

THE Bounty lay becalmed within a fev/ miles of a 
long, low-lying atoll densely covered with 
coconut trees. The wind had fallen light during 
the night, but though the land was then forty 
miles distant, the strong current set the ship steadily 
to the eastward, and now at ten o'clock in the 
morning those on her decks could see between the 
palm trees the pale green waters of a placid lagoon 
shimmering in the bright sunlight. Fifty miles north 
and south it stretched, and Talalu, who with others of 
his countrymen was gazing at the £■ range island from 
the fore-yard, his dark eyes full of expectancy, called 
out to Mahina and Alrema, who were on the poop 
deck, that he could see a great village and many 
people running to and fro on the beach getting ready 
their canoes to come out to the ship. 

Sitting aft upon the skylight, with two charts spread 

out before him, was the leader of the mutineers. 

127 



128 THE MUTINEER 

Although but two weeks had passed since the ship left 
Tahiti, the anxieties of his position had already told 
upon Christian, and his face was drawn and haggard. 
Mahina stood behind him, with her shapely hand 
resting upon his shoulder, and looked with interest at 
the pencilled line of the ship's course marked upon 
one of the charts by her husband. Opposite were 
Young, McCoy and his wife, and two or three others 
of the mutineers, while their wives sat on the deck 
and listened eagerly to what their husbands were 
saying. 

Turning to his comrades, Christian pointed to the 
larger of the two charts. 

" This island which we are now closing is called 
Fakarava, and there is a good entrance into the 
lagoon. If you think it advisable for us to take the 
ship in, it can easily be done. But I cannot see 
that any good will come from our wasting the time. 
As you know, this is the seventh island we have 
sighted since we left Tahiti, and every one has proved 
unsuitable for our purpose." 

" What's the matter with this one?" said Williams, 
who had just come down from aloft. " It's big enough 
for us all, isn't it ? " 

" Quite," answered Christian coldly, "but, as I have 
pointed out to you before, while the natives of all these 
islands were friendly enough, the islands themselves 
were most unsuitable. They were mere sand banks 
covered with coconuts, and although some of them 
were of great extent, the narrow strips of land enclosing 
the lagoons were barely half a mile broad. Supposing 



THE SEARCH FOR A RESTING-PLACE 129 

that we had stayed on one of them, stripped and sank 
the ship, and lived ashore, what possible chance would 
there have been of concealing ourselves if a ship entered 
the lagoon, or what chance of defending our refuge? 
None. None at all. Then, the productions of such 
places are poor ; there is literally nothing growing on 
them but coconuts. But, as some of you thought 
that in this group we should easily find an island as 
fertile as Tubuai, I acceded to your wishes, and we have 
spent ten days among them seeking a suitable spot," 

"I'm sorry that I was one to persuade you, sir," said 
Quintal. "We ought to have stood to the south again, 
as you wanted to, and got among the high islands like 
Tubuai. As you say, it would be folly for us to leave the 
ship for any place that we can't live comfortably on." 

"On this chart of Captain Bligh's," resumed the 
leader, "you will see that all these islands which we are 
now sailing among are marked as 'low coral lagoons.' 
That there are others which do not appear on the 
chart, and which are higher and more fertile, I have no 
doubt; but I believe from what Mahina and Talalu 
tell me, thai these, which have not yet been discovered 
by any navigator, lie a long way to the south and east. 
That there is one such place I am certain. But before 
we listen to what my wife has to say on the matter, 
and before I give my own idea as to the best course, 
let me remind you that to-day expires the time we 
agreed to spend in cruising among the islands to the 
north and east of Tahiti." 

"Aye, aye, Mr. Christian," said Smith, who with 
his wife had now joined the party around the skylight. 

10 



130 THE MUTINEER 

"Up to the present," resumed Christian, speaking 
slowly and coldly, " you have proved loyal to me, even 
though dissenting from my plans. I, like yourselves, 
am but a felon dodging the gallows, and it is better 
that you should bear with me a little longer, till I 
succeed in finding a safe resting-place for us all. Then 
it will be every one for himself; I shall have no further 
claim on your obedience, and you none of any nature 
on me." 

An anxious look crept into Smith's eyes, but he had 
no time to say anything. 

" Remember," continued the leader, " by leaving 
Tahiti with me you have cut yourself off from the last 
chance you might have had of saving your necks if 
captured by a King's ship ; that being the case, we 
are all in the same plight, and your interests are also 
mine." 

"Mr. Christian, you have acted towards us like a 
man. I don't regret what has happened, and I am 
going to obey you as captain of this ship till the end ; 
and I am very much mistaken if you won't find every 
man on board of her of my way of thinking." 

It was Smith who spoke, and when he had finished 
he looked at the others for approval. Every one of them 
answered heartily, "Aye, aye, go ahead, Mr. Christian ; 
we'll see it through under you." 

A faint smile of satisfaction for a moment lit up 
Christian's countenance, but the habitual melancholy, 
which had now settled upon him, returned the next 
instant, and he continued his remarks in cold, indif- 
ferent tones. 



THE SEARCH FOR A RESTING-PLACE 131 

" Before we left Matavai Bay I had practically made 
up my mind that this island" — and he placed his hand 
upon the smaller chart — "was the most suitable place 
for us to reach. This book " — taking it from Mahina, 
" was written by Captain Carteret, and this chart was 
made by him when he discovered the island, thirty 
years ago. This is what he says," and opening the 
book, he read : — 

"On the morning of July 2, 1767, a young gentleman named Pitcairn, 
being on the look-out at the mast head, observed a spot on the horizon, 
which on approaching it next day appeared to rise like a great pyramid 
out of the sea. It proved to be an island, one and a half miles in length 
and four and a half in circumference, its summit attaining a height of 
1,008 feet, itself surrounded by a coral reef and covered with trees. The 
coast was formed for the most part of rocky projections, ofF which lay 
numerous fragments of stone, while a small stream of fresh water trickled 
down at one end of the island. The surf, which broke upon the shore 
with great violence, remiered landing impossible, but there should be no 
great difficulty in fine weather in doing so. The place seems to be unin- 
habited, a great number of sea-birds hovered around, and the waters 
almost swarm with fish." 

"That's the place for us, lads," said Quintal, with 
an inquiring look at the others. 

" You will see," continued Christian, " that in the 
big chart the island is not shown at all, but in this 
rough sketch of it, drawn by Captain Carteret, the 
position is given as lat. 20° l' south ; long. 133° 2i' 
west." 

"Why, it's more than four hundred leagues from 
Tahiti," began Williams, when Christian checked him 
by a look. 

" It is more than that, as you say, and whether 
Captain Carteret's position is correct or not, I cannot 



132 THE MUTINEER 

tell ; I think not ; for it is known that the instru- 
ments he had on board the Swallow were very indif- 
ferent. But in another reference to the island he says 
that it was visible at fifteen leagues. I think, there- 
fore, we could scarcely miss it, unless we ran by it in 
the night." 

" That's true, sir," cried McCoy and Smith. 

" Well, as far as I know, no one but Carteret has 
ever seen this place, and its isolated position will be a 
safeguard to us. Furthermore, although my wife and 
I have talked of the island often enough, I was careful 
in leaving Tahiti to give neither Heywood nor Stewart 
a hint of our future movements. Now listen to what 
my wife has told me, and then decide quickly whether 
you will agree to our standing to the south-east and 
looking for this Pitcairn." 

Again the rest of the mutineers answered that they 
trusted him, and would follow his advice. 

" Very well, then. My wife, as Talalu and your 
own wives will tell you, is not of Tahitian blood. Her 
ancestors were blown away to sea from an island far 
away from Tahiti, which they only reached after spend- 
ing many months among these islands through which 
we have been cruising for the past ten days. Their 
home lay, according to them, many weeks' fast sailing 
to the south-east of Tahiti. Mahina, though she 
knows but little of the origin of her people, yet knows 
that the place they came from was called Afita, and 
Carteret's description of Pitcairn, as far as I have been 
able to make her understand it, tallies in the main with 
the description she has heard her mother give of Afita. 



THE SEARCH FOR A RESTING-PLACE 133 

Remember that we have with us many Tahitians, and 
Tairoa-Maina and the other Tubuaians, and it would 
be well to take them into our confidence and tell them 
where we are going. We cannot afford to deceive 
them." 

He ceased speaking ; then, as no one demurred to 
his suggestion, he asked Young to muster all the 
natives aft. As soon as they had grouped behind the 
white men, Christian said to his white comrades — 

"My wife is, I think, a favourite with all these men. 
Let her talk to them and tell them that we are about 
to look for the home of her forefathers, and they will 
be well content." 

The seamen consented, and Christian explained to 
Mahina what was wanted of her. She, readily under- 
standing, at once complied ; and it was easy to see, 
by the flush of pleasure upon her cheeks and her bright 
smile, that the task was a pleasing one. 

Placing her hand on Carteret's chart, and giving a 
swift glance of intelligence and affection at Christian, 
she spoke. 

"See, men of Tahiti and Tubuai, my husband 
desireth me to tell thee of the home of my people, so 
that ye may know why it is the ship stayeth so long 
out upon the sea. It is because that of all the lands we 
have seen since we sailed we have seen none so fair to 
look upon as Tahiti and Tubuai ; and it is in my 
husband's heart to find a land that shall be both fair to 
look at and good to live upon. But naught have we 
yet seen but such places as this," and she pointed to 
the low-lying island on the larboard side j " and so, 



134 THE MUTINEER 

because I have told him of the rich land from whence 
my fathers came, it is in his mind that we go there 
and live. And I have heard Manuhuru, my mother, 
speak of this land, for there was her mother born and 
there she lived, until there came a time when, with 
many others, she was blown out to sea and returned 
no more, for their canoe was swept away by a strong 
south wind for many, many days till they reached 
strange islands. Some were killed by the people of 
these places, but my mother's mother, and four others 
with her, one day stole a sailing canoe from the people 
of the island called Marutea and set out again to seek 
their own home." 

" Here's the place she speaks of," said Christian, 
pointing to Marutea on the large chart, " a good eight 
hundred miles to the north-west of Pitcairn Island." 

Whites and natives crowded round the chart and 
looked at the spot indicated by Christian. 

" But again the winds and the gods were against 
them, and so they sailed towards the setting sun, and 
on the tenth day saw the shadow of Orohena stand 
out against the sea-rim, and at night they landed at 
Tiarapu ' and dwelt there in peace among the people, 
who were kind to them. But yet were their hearts 
always towards their own land, which, though it be 
but a small place, yet is green as Tahiti, and is a land 
good to live in ; and sometimes when the sun sank 
below the sky-rim and they watched the top of 
Orohena become wrapped in the white mists of the 
valleys, they would look at one another and sigh and 

' A district in Tahiti. 



THE SEARCH FOR A RESTING-PLACE 135 

say : * Ah, that is like our land of Afita rising from 
the sea.' " 

A cry broke from Tairoa-Maina, the Tubuaian 
chief : " Afita ! Truly, Kirisiani, thy wife and I 
are of one blood ; for I, too, know of this land which 
riseth from the sea, and is far away, towards the edge 
of the world. My father came from Afita, and there 
are many others in Tubuai whose fathers came from 
there, long, long ago, in seven canoes. This did they 
because Afita, though so rich, was too small for so 
many to live upon. And because of the strange blood 
in my veins it was that the men of Tubuai liked me 
not, and I desired to come away with thee. Let us, 
oh Kirisiani, go seek the land of Afita, which is far 
towards the rising sun from Tubuai. For it is indeed, 
as thy wife sayeth, a land good to look upon, and rich 
in woods, and water and fish, and yams and bread- 
fruit." 

For some minutes there was an excited buzzing 
of voices among the natives, and the men eagerly 
besought Christian to lead them to the home of his 
wife's people ; while Edward Young and the rest of 
the ship's company seemed equally interested and as 
anxious to learn more. Presently Talalu, who gene- 
rally acted as spokesman for his countrymen, stepped 
out from the others and addressed the leader of the 
white men. This man, who was the tallest and 
strongest of all the Tahitians on board, had, like 
Smith, conceived a great admiration for Fletcher 
Christian, and had evinced it in many ways since 
the Bounty left Tahiti ; and being a man of chiefly 



136 THE MUTINEER 

rank, his influence over the rest of the natives on 
board was great. 

" Kirisiani," he said simply, " I, Talalu, the son of 
Poahanehane, will follow thee wherever thou goest, 
and work and fight for thee. And as I do, so will my 
countrymen with thee on the ship do. This we swear 
by our gods, and by the blood in our veins." 

And then one by one the simple brown people 
crowded round Christian and touched his hands and feet 
in token of their fealty to him ; and the dull, brooding 
shadow for a little time left his face as he shook hands 
with them all in the English fashion, his example 
being followed by Young and the rest of the white 
men. 

Then Tairoa-Maina pressed forward, and the hand- 
some chief, his black eyes gleaming with excitement 
at the prospect of seeing his father's island home, 
knelt at Mahina's feet and touched the deck with his 
forehead. 

" And I too," he said, " will go with thy husband, 
Mahina, and be a true man to him ; for is he not a 
man of a good heart ? And together shall we search 
for and find the land of Afita, thy land and mine. 
For now, Mahina, when I hear thy voice, do I 
hear the voice of my father that is dead ; and it 
may be that thou and I are of one blood. And for 
that alone would my heart be for ever towards Kiri- 
siani, thy husband." 

Christian smiled again. Despite his own morbid 
nature, he had grown to like the handsome Tubuaian, 
and the chief's devotion to Mahina pleased him greatly. 



THE SEARCH FOR A RESTING-PLACE 137 

A little behind were the rest of Mahina's country- 
women, who, not comprehending the discussion, had 
now surrounded her with soft murmurs of excite- 
ment, and presently Christian, noting this, turned to 
his wife with a laugh — the first for many months. 

"This is well, Mahina, that thy countrymen are 
so with thee and me ; but what say all these women 
to this search for the land of Afita ? " 

She turned her lustrous eyes, beaming with affec- 
tion, on the mutineer. "It is not the part of a woman, 
unless she be a great ruler, to say aye or nay to her 
master's will ; and surely thou didst not think to ask 
these women their thoughts on this matter. That 
would be folly." 

" 'Tis a good doctrine, Mahina," answered Christian; 
" there will be no man-and-wife quarrels to break our 
peace on Afita." Then, pressing her hand, he turned 
away to attend to the ship. 

" Here comes a fleet of canoes," called out Quintal 
to Young, and almost at the same moment the glassy 
surface of the water stirred and rippled to the breeze 
as it came darkening along from the north-east to fill 
the Bounty's sails. 

" Never mind the canoes," answered Young, fling- 
ing down the mainbraces ; " get the head-sheets 
over ; and here, away to the main deck, all you 
women ! — out of the way and give us a pull on the 
braces ! " 

So with many a bubbling laugh and merry jest the 
Tahitian women tripped down and seized the ropes 
in their soft little hands ; and as the ship leaned gently 



138 THE MUTINEER 

over and the froth began to bubble under her bluff old 
bows, Christian put the helm hard up, wore her round, 
and set her head to the south-east. 

Mahina, standing beside him, gazed intently into 
her husband's eyes as he looked at the compass ; then 
as he steadied the ship she watched him inquiringly ; 
and he nodded and smiled at her in return. 

" Aye, Mahina, that is where we must go to seek 
for Afita ; may we find it soon." He gave over the 
wheel to Williams, walked quietly away, picked up 
the charts and books, and went below. 

But on the main-deck, as the long, palm-clad line 
of Fakarava, with its white gleam of sandy beach, 
sank slowly below the horizon, the white seamen and 
their native wives and the rest of the ship's company 
sang and laughed and chattered ; and as the Bounty 
slipped over the long ocean rollers she spread on either 
side white sheets of snowy foam, and surged along 
before the lusty breath of the ever-freshening breeze. 

So began the search for the land of Afita. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE FLIGHT OF THE KANAPU 

ON further careful study of Carteret's book and 
chart, the mind of Fletcher Christian was greatly 
disturbed, for he knew that there was much to fear if 
the position of Pitcairn had been wrongly laid down. 
The currents, too, in this part of the world were but 
little understood by those few navigators who had 
sailed among the islands ; indeed, the natives them- 
selves were far better informed of both the winds and 
currents of Eastern Polynesia than were the few 
European voyagers among the various groups since 
the days of Carteret and Cook. 

Carteret had laid down the centre of Pitcairn in 
lat. 20° 2' south, and long. 133° 21'' west ; but 
although Christian was fairly confident of sighting the 
island by keeping a careful look-out and heaving-to 
at night when he got near it, he felt that his limited 
knowledge of the winds and currents might lead to 
prolonged and tedious search. 

For twenty-one days after leaving Fakarava the 
Bounty sailed south-easterly. Several low-lying atolls 

139 



i+o THE MUTINEER 

were sighted, but no sign of high land had been 
seen ; yet, by Christian's calculations (only revealed 
to Young, Smith, and McCoy), he had twice sailed 
over the position assigned to the island by Carteret. 
His misgivings that a strong current had set him too 
far to the eastward were daily growing stronger. His 
only chronometer, through an accident, had been 
rendered useless, and besides this the weather latterly 
was gloomy and the sun seldom visible. The last 
land had been sighted eighteen days after leaving 
Fakarava, and Talalu and Tairoa-Maina, who from 
the break of day were continuously aloft on the look- 
out, assured him on that day that no land lay further 
to the south-east but Afita and a little sandy island 
called Oeno, about half a day's sail to the northward. 
Small as this island was, they declared that the clamour 
of the sea-birds, whose resting-place it was, would reveal 
its presence even on the darkest night ; and this alone 
somewhat reassured him in the hope that he had not 
drifted past it or Pitcairn in the darkness. A day's 
sail further to the eastward was another island which 
they said was called Fenua-manu ; ^ this, too, was the 
home of millions of sea-birds, whose voices stilled 
the beating of the surf upon the reefs, so great were 
their numbers. 

With his chin upon his hands, Fletcher Christian 
gazed moodily at the chart before him. Mahina, who 
by the cabin door was watching him with tender 
interest, heard him sigh wearily. Stepping up to him, 

Ducie Island, about ninety miles east of Pitcairn. It is unin- 
habited now. The old name, Fenua-manu, meant " The Isl-and of Birds.' 



THE FLIGHT OF THE KANAPU 141 

she pressed her cool hand to his forehead, and leant 
her cheek against his in loving sympathy. 

In the great cabin no sound broke the stillness save 
the swish and swirl of the ship's wake as she slipped 
through the water ; and presently Christian, drawing 
the girl's slender figure to a seat beside him, pointed 
to the chart. 

"Mahina," he said, "you and three of my white 
comrades alone know that the ship hath twice sailed 
over the place where this island of Afita should have 
been ; and no sign have we yet seen, not even a drifting 
coconut or a piece of wood." 

The girl's eyes filled with tears ; for a few moments 
her bosom heaved, and she tried to speak without 
showing her emotion ; and Christian, moody and pre- 
occupied as he was, knew by her voice that she felt 
for and sympathised with him. 

" Kirisiani, I too have looked and looked and prayed 
to Oro and Tane to guide the ship to Afita, but now 
I begin to fear that the gods have turned aside from 
me. 

He pressed her hand in silence, and was about to 
bid her come with him on deck when the murmuring 
of voices at the door of the great cabin broke in upon 
them, and presently Talalu, Tairoa-Maina, and two 
other natives asked leave to speak with him. 

" Let them wait awhile," he said sullenly, although 
knowing that in the Tubuaian chief and his Tahitian 
comrade he had two firm friends, who with Smith, 
Young, and McCoy would stand by him to the last. 
For nearly half an hour he remained communing with 



'42 THE MUTINEER 

himself and endeavouring to think out some other 
course for the future, should his search be still un- 
rewarded on the following day. 

Already the long voyage had had a bad efFect upon 
most of the mutineers, and only that morning he had 
noticed the gloomy faces and sullen manner of the 
men when changing the ship's course another point to 
the southward. Some of the Tahitians were sufFering 
from the effects of the strange food which, for weeks 
they had been forced to live upon, and the confinement 
told seriously on their health and spirits. Yet, despite 
this, their regard for Mahina, and their faith in, and 
respect for Christian were unbroken, and they would 
have endured the most prolonged hardships rather than 
let either imagine that they were repining. With some 
of the white seamen, however, these feelings were 
wanting. Although there was no open expression of 
discontent, more than one murmured at the delay 
declaring that Christian and Young, either through 
Ignorance or design, were not doing their duty to their 
associates. 

It was no wonder, therefore, that Christian himself 
grew day by day more anxious and less confident of 
finding this island of Carteret's. True, the place was 
small and solitary, and, unless his reckoning was 
very exact, might easily be missed. Twice had he 
sailed across Carteret's position, and nothing had 
rewarded his search ; and now he felt that another 
daysfrmtless quest would assure him either that his 
observations had been incorrect or that the island had 
disappeared by some convulsion of nature. Worn out 



THE FLIGHT OF THE KANAPU 143 

with anxiety, with constant watching, and his own sad 
emotions, nothing but the devotion and tender love of 
Mahina had kept him from ending it all with a loaded 
pistol which he always carried in his pocket. 

He pushed the chart away wearily, and was about 
to go on deck when Mahina, who had remained, 
touched his arm, and with a timid, beseeching look 
asked him to let Tairoa-Maina and the other natives 
have speech with him. 

" Come in, friends," he said, in kindly tones. 

The Tubuaian chief, who, with Talalu and two 
other natives, had been patiently waiting at the cabin 
door, came in, sat silently down, and waited permission 
to speak. 

"Speak, my brother," said Mahina to Tairoa-Maina. 
"My husband is wearied, and would go out upon the 
deck to breathe the cool wind of the night." 

Pleased at the relationship assigned to him by 
Christian's wife, the handsome young Tubuaian 
looked at them with affectionate regard, and said he 
and those with him desired to speak of something in 
their minds, at which they prayed him not to be 
angered, " for," he added, with a grave smile, " we 
men of brown skin are but fools on the great ocean 
when the sky is dull and there is neither sun nor 
moon nor stars to guide us. But with the clever 
white men it is different ; they are full of wisdom 
to guide a ship, even if there be neither sun by day 
nor stars by night. Yet in some little things we have 
wisdom, and that is why we now ask that thou, 
Kirisiani, will listen to us — who are thy friends." 



144 THE MUTINEER 

" That I well know," said the mutineer, placing his 
hand on Tairoa's shoulder. " Speak, my brother." 

"Thou knowest, Kirisiani, that for many days I 
have climbed the masts and watched, so that I might 
be the first to see the land of Afita ; and when it grew 
dark I have waited upon the deck and listened to 
hear if the sound of beating surf came over the sea. 
Last night, as Talalu and I lay on the deck, and the 
ship rose and fell and made no sound, we saw first one 
and then another of the birds called kanapu'^ fly swiftly 
over the ship towards the westward. As we watched 
there came another, and then another, and then a flock 
of twenty or more, and these too all flew swiftly west- 
wards, for we saw their shadows darken the bright 
strip of water that shot out from the dying moon. 
Then, as we lay down again, there came to our minds 
that on Oeno, the little sandy islet but a day's sail 
from Afita, there do the kanapu breed in the thick 
puka scrub which groweth in the sand." 

" True," said Mahina quickly ; " I have heard my 
mother say that on Oeno the cries of the kanapu when 
they come home to roost at night drown the noise of 
the breaking surf." 

"Aye," said the Tubuaian, "and so have I been 
told. Yet only at night ; for in the daytime they fly 
to the lagoon of Fenua-manu, where they find many 
fish. We talked of this as we lay on the deck, and I 
desired to come and tell thee, Kirisiani, of the flight 
of the birds, but feared that thou wouldst chide me 

' The Equatorial booby, whose swift flight is only surpassed by that 
of the frigate bird. 



THE FLIGHT OF THE KANAPU 145 

for doubting thy skill to guide the ship. But I have 
heard some of those with us say some little things." 

Christian smiled bitterly. " They speak truly, my 
friend ; I cannot find this land of Afita." 

Leaning over towards him and placing his hand 
on Christian's, the Tubuaian continued : " But this 
morning, when the lower half of the sun was still 
buried in the sea, we saw many, many kandpu and 
katafa ' flying swiftly towards it, and Afita lieth 
between Oeno and Fenua-manu." 

Christian's eyes sparkled. " Thanks, my good friend. 
I see now thy meaning. For two days have I thought 
that the ship hath come too far towards the rising sun, 
and that the place we seek lieth westward." 

" Even so think we," answered Talalu, " for the 
current runneth strong towards the rising sun, and 
the kandpu and the katafa went westward to rest." 

For a little while Christian considered. Oeno, the 
sandy island which both Mahina and Tairoa asserted 
was but a day's sail north and west from Afita, was 
not marked in any of the two or three charts he 
possessed, but Ducie Island, the "Fenua-manu," or 
Island of Birds, of the natives, was, and lay due east of 
Oeno. And he knew the natives relied much upon 
simple indications to find their position when making 
long voyages at sea. He soon made up his mind. 

" We will turn the ship to follow the kandpu^'' he 
said. 

The natives sprang to their feet, and with animated 
countenances waited for him to precede them on deck. 

' Frigate birds. 
I I 



146 THE MUTINEER 

The 'Bounty^ with the gentle trade-wind fiUing her 
sails, was steering an E.N.E. course, when Christian, 
with Mahina and the others, came on deck. Sitting 
near the wheel was Young, who had charge of the 
watch. 

" Young," said Christian, " I am convinced that if 
this island is in existence it is to the west of us." 

"So Alrema says," nonchalantly replied the young 
man ; " but I didn't think it worth while mentioning 
it." 

" What do you say ? Shall we keep her away ? " 

"Certainly — why not ? As we cannot find it our- 
selves by the chart let us go west by all means." 

" Hands to the braces, men ! " called out Christian 
after a moment's hesitation. " We are ffoino; to run 
down to the westward." 

In a few minutes the yards were hauled round, and 
the 'Bounty was heading west by north. Telling 
Talalu and Tairoa to go aloft. Christian turned to 
Young and Smiith and related the incident of the 
previous night. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon, just as Chris- 
tian was about to lie down for an hour, there burst 
from Talalu on the fore top-gallant yard a cry that sent 
a thrill through the hearts of every one on board — 

"2> fenua no Afita ! '' ("The land of Afita ! "). 

There was a sudden rush aloft. Christian himself 
ascending the main rigging slightly in advance of 
McCoy, Quintal, and Young. 

" There it is, sir, ! " said Quintal excitedly, pointing 
almost right ahead. 



THE FLIGHT OF THE KANApU 1+7 

Then as the others saw the faint blue outline of a 
pyramidal peak rising from the sea, a cheer broke 
from them, and the people on the deck took it up and 
repeated it again and again. 

" Thank God ! " said Christian to Edward Young;. 
Instinctively their hands met, and in silence they all 
gazed intently at the little spot, which at that far dis- 
tance no eye but that of a seaman or a native could 
distinguish from a cone-shaped cloud. 



CHAPTER XVII 



THE STORY OF AFITA 



TOWARDS sunset, when the Bounty was still 
some thirty miles distant from the land, the 
trade-wind as usual died away, and by eight in the 
evening the new moon shone over a sea as calm as a 
mountain lake. Fearing that the easterly current 
would set the ship back in the night during the 
continuance of the calm. Christian and Young had 
carefully taken the ship's bearings just as the pale 
blue of the distant island was changing to a shade of 
purple under the rays of the setting sun. 

The knowledge that their long search was ended 
at last inspirited every one on board. After supper 
the men gathered on the main deck, and with their 
wives and their brown-skinned shipmates forgot the 
weary days which had tried their tempers and for- 
bearance so severely. Alrema, who had an influence 
upon her countrymen almost equal to that of Mahina, 
was in high spirits, and Young, despite his usual 
seeming indifference to her vivacity and beauty, was 

yet sscretly pleased to see the respect with which she 

148 



THE STORY OF AFITA 149 

was treated by the others. Her conduct during the 
attack on the fort at Tubuai had shown her to be 
possessed of a fiery, undaunted courage ; indeed, had 
the murmurers known that this beautiful Tahitian girl 
with the dark, languorous eyes, and soft red lips had 
advised Young to induce Christian to shoot them, 
they would have remembered the incident of the 
bloody cutlass, and been more careful of their speech 
in her hearing. Yet now she seemed but a merry- 
hearted, mirth-loving girl, and as she raised her sweet 
voice in some old Tahitian love-song, while her eyes 
sought those of Edward Young, the men were struck 
with her bright and animated beauty. 

Tired of singing and talking with the group assem- 
bled on the main-deck, she presently ascended to the 
poop, where her husband sat with Christian and 
Mahina discussing their plans for the future. 

She seated herself beside Young, and listened till 
they ceased talking — then said, clasping Mahina's 
hand in her own, "Tell us, oh friend of my heart, 
the story of this land of Afita." 

" Nay," replied Mahina, smiling and stroking 
Alrema's dark hair, " 'tis but little I know, and that 
little did I learn from my mother ; but call hither 
Tairoa-Maina, and let him tell the story, for he hath 
more knowledge of Afita than I." 

Christian's consent having been gained, the Tubu- 
aian chief was called upon the poop, and sat in front 
of the little group with his two faithful attendants 
behind him ; his swart, handsome features lit up with 
pleasure when he was told what was wanted of him. 



150 THE MUTINEER 

" Kirisiani," said Mahina, caressing her husband's 
cheek with her soft, brown hand, " but for this dear 
friend, Tairoa-Maina, still might we have been search- 
ing for this land of his and my father's." 

" True," answered Christian frankly, " but for him 
we might perhaps have never found it. Thou seest, 
Mahina, that in some things the white men have not 
the knowledge nor judgment of thy people." 

" Even so," she answered gravely, " we have no 
such things as those tuhi^ of thine which are full 
of wisdom. And it is strange to us that by looking 
at some little black marks thou couldst tell us of 
the sea chief who saw the land of Afita thirty years 
ago. Yet, though we have no wise men among us 
like thee and the great Tuti and Pirai, we have 
memories and songs and tales which have come down 
from father to son ; and all that is told is remem- 
bered by the children, and they, when they grow up, 
tell it to their children, so that all may know the 
beginning of things since Taaroa the father of the 
gods and his two sons Oro and Tane made the world." 
Acquainted as he was in some degree with the wild 
and fabulous nature of almost every Polynesian tradition 
bearing upon the ancestry of the people, Christian was 
convinced by the many long conversations he had 
held with Mahina about her descent that much of 
what she told him had a basis of fact. The Tahitian 
custom of deifying their ancestors would naturally 
result in confusing historical facts and rendering them 
absurd, but his keen observation and quickly acquired 

' Books, handwriting and maps. 



THE STORY OF AFITA 151 

knowledge of the Tahitian tongue enabled him to 
sift out in a great measure the real from the fabulous 
and visionary. He therefore, while listening to 
Tairoa-Maina's story of Afita, quickly divested it of 
all that was mythological and fictitious, and accepted 
the substance of it as fact. 

To his mind much of what Mahina told him of 
Afita had appeared no more than the vague traditions 
of native legend, but as he listened to the Tubuaian 
chief's story he found a remarkable resemblance be- 
tween the two accounts. 

Sitting in the light of the moon, which fell upon 
his symmetrical head and shoulders and revealed the 
curious and delicate tracery of the tattooing upon his 
polished skin, the young chief related the Tubuaian 
story about the land and the people whence he came. 

"Long, long ago, Kirisiani, Taaroa the Sky-Pro- 
ducer, and Oro and Tane his sons, between them 
created new lands by dipping their hands to the 
bottom of the deep sea and dragging them up above 
the surface, so that the trees might grow and men 
live upon them. In those days there dwelt upon 
Huahine a taata paari (wise man) named Poiata, 
who had himself been created by the gods, and his 
wife Mahinihini. In the same house lived Rumia 
and his wife Motupapa ; only these four were on 
Huahine. At the end of two years neither of the 
women had borne a child to their husbands, and Poiata 
and Rumia, assailing them with bitter words and 
blows, drove them away to the sea-shore, and bade 
them go swim out into the ocean and drown. 



152 THE MUTINEER 

" * Nay,' cried Mahinihini, ' give us a canoe, so that 
at least we may seek some other land and hide the 
shame of our childlessness.' " 

" But Poiata and Rumia laughed and jeered at 
them, and pointing to a great shark that lay upon 
the water outside the reef, mockingly bade them hold 
on to its fin and begone. 

" Now this shark was Tahua ; ' and the two 
women, who wept as they swam, approached him 
silently, and clambering upon his great back, held on 
to his fin while Tahua sped away with them. 

" For many days he swam southward and eastward, 
till Mahinihini and Motupapa saw, rising out of the 
sea, what seemed the fin of another great shark ; so 
high was it that it pierced the clouds, even as does the 
peak of Orohena. But when they drew near they 
saw that it was land rising up steeply from the deep 
sea, and on the high cliff's there stood strange men 
with yellowish faces and circlets of red and green 
parrots' feathers round their foreheads. As the two 
women gazed in fear and trembling, Tahua the shark 
sank from beneath them, and they struck out and 
swam to the shore. The strange men ran down the 
cliffs and helped them to land, and gave them food to 
eat and coconuts to drink. Seven men were they, 
and they said they came from a great country to the 
east where the mountain-tops were for ever covered 
with white clouds." 

" How came they there ? " asked Christian. 
Tairoa-Maina shook his head. " No man knoweth. 

' One of the gods of Tahitian mythology. 



THE STORY OF AFITA 153 

But they were pleased to see Motupapa and Mahini- 
hini, for there were no women with them on the 
island, which they had named Afita — ' the land shot 
up by fire from the bottom of the sea.' So these two 
women became wives to the seven men, and they bore 
seven children to each man. By and by, as the years 
passed on, there came more of the strange people from 
the great eastern land ; and they were pleased with 
the beauty of Afita and the great richness of the land, 
and dwelt with Mahinihini and Motupapa and their 
husbands. Very joyously they lived together, until 
the people grew so in number that breadfruit and 
taro and yams and plantains began to be scarce 
because of the many mouths of children who cried 
with hunger. And when the land would no longer 
hold them and famine came, twenty-and-two score men 
and women sailed far away in canoes to seek another 
home. Westward they sailed for ten days till a storm 
separated them, and four of the canoes came to the 
land of Tubuai, and four to the land of Rapa.^ Of 
those that reached the land of Rapa I know nought, 
save that the chief was named Teata-rua ; but of 
those that came to Tubuai my father was one." 

" And did he ever tell thee how appeared this Afita, 
this lonely island that springeth up from the sea like 
the fin of a shark that swimmeth on the surface ?" 
asked Mahina. 

" I have heard my father say," answered the chief, 
" that so steep are its mountains that they shut in from 

' Rapa is situated in 27° 30' S ; 144° 30' W. and would easily be 
made by sailing W. from Pitcairn. 



154 THE MUTINEER 

the winds the rich soil of the belly of the land ; and 
down the sides of the hills run many streams of water 
sweet to drink. And save in one place no reef ran 
out from the shore." 

" That does not agree with Carteret," said Young 
to Christian. 

" And the great ocean rollers," added Mahina, " for 
ever dashed up against the face of the cliffs so that no 
strangers could land in their canoes, else would they 
be broken to pieces in the angry surf." 

" But still there is one little spot on the north and 
north-west," continued the Tubuaian chief, "so small 
that only those who have lived in Afita can find it, 
where the sea is not always rough. And on the 
eastern side there is a small bay, where, when the 
wind is from the west and south, the sea is quiet, and 
a deeply-laden canoe can land with safety." 

" Is the water deep ? " asked Christian. 

" Aye, so deep is it, that five fathoms from the shore 
the water is as blue as the deep ocean ; and close to 
the high cliffs swim great fish that we in Tubuai 
catch only with lines a hundred fathoms in length. 
Ah, Kirisiani, to-morrow wilt thou see if Mahina and 
I have told thee aught but the truth." 

As the pleasant tones of the chief's voice ceased 
there came a gentle pufFof air, which filled the ship's 
upper canvas, and Christian and Young sprang to their 
feet, quickly followed by the natives, and trimmed the 
sails for the coming breeze. 

For three or four hours the Bounty slid softly over 
a moonlit sea ; then as dawn broke and the red sun 



THE STORY OF AFITA 155 

sprang from the horizon, P'lctchcr Christian and his 
comrades saw the island for which they had so long 
sought lying before them bright and shining green 
upon the sunlit sea. 

An hour later the ship was hove-to as close to 
the land as her safety permitted, and Christian, in her 
one boat with Taiaro-Maina and some white seamen, 
was searching for the only little bay where it was 
thought a landing might be effected. 



CHAPTER XVIII 



BOUNTY BAY 



WITHIN twenty minutes of leaving the ship 
Christian and his boat's crew were close under 
the cliffs of the island ; and rowing carefully, just 
outside the curl of the breaking surf, they sought the 
landing-place described by the Tubuaian chief as being 
on the south and east side. As the strong arms of 
the natives urged the boat along, Christian looked 
at the grim, precipitous cliffs which rose sheer from 
the thundering surf at their base, and a strange sense 
of loneliness almost akin to fear came over him. 
The outlines of the solitary island were savage, and the 
terror of its forbidding exterior was increased by the 
tumult of the waves which hurled themselves with 
astounding fury against its grey coral walls. Some- 
times, as a huge, swelling sea swept in like a moving 
wall towards them, the natives would give a warning 
cry ; and Christian, bringing the boat's head round to 
meet it, would watch the mighty volume of water 
fling itself, with a hoarse roar, high upwards against the 
solid face of stone, to fall back in drenching sheets of 

156 



BOUNTY BAY 157 

foam upon the swirling cauldron which leapt and 
eddied and boiled beneath. Here and there deep and 
narrow chasms split up the vertical mass of rock, and 
into these gaps, many of them terminating in caverns 
black as night, the sea rushed with such irresistible 
force that misty spray and spume shot upward over the 
very summits of the clifFs, like the belching smoke 
from the crater of a volcano in the throes of a 
violent convulsion. Right to the verge there drooped 
down in places thick clusters of a light-green coloured 
creeper, whose pendants, turned yellow by the salty 
spray, swayed wildly to and fro like banners waved by 
mysterious, invisible hands, so fierce were the air 
blasts caused by the terrific inrush of water. 

Scarcely speaking above a whisper, the natives 
rowed quickly along, their dark eyes shining with 
pleasure when they saw the feathery tufts of coco- 
palms showing above the dense thicket scrub, where 
the cliffs were less precipitous and revealed a slight 
glimpse of the interior of the island. And now, as the 
boat drew near the south-western point where a high, 
cathedral-like rock stood, blackly-grim, amid the white 
seethe of boiling surge, there came a strange wild 
clamour, a savage symphony of crashing, thundering 
surf and hoarse guttural croaks and shrill pipings, and 
from every crag and rock and jagged pinnacle along 
the shore, there soared aloft a vast swarm of sea-birds, 
which whirled and circled above the boat with out- 
stretched wing and frightened eye. Then, as if satisfied 
with their quick scrutiny of the strange intruders, they 
rose higher in air and vanished behind the towering cliffs. 



158 THE MUTINEER 

Keeping well clear of three or four sharp-peaked 
rocks which raised their black heads from the water as 
the receding billows uncovered them to view, the boat 
at last rounded the point and Christian headed her along 
the shore to the north-west ; and almost at the same 
moment Tairoa-Maina drew in his oar, and sprang to 
his feet with an exultant shout. 

" See, Kirisiani ! the beach ! the beach ! And see, 
too, the leaping torrent above. 'Tis indeed the land 
of Afita." 

Christian, himself too excited to speak, now gave 
his attention to effecting a landing ; the crew took in 
their oars and, picking up canoe paddles in their place, 
waited for the word to run the boat ashore during a 
lull in the surf, which even on the sheltered beach 
broke heavily. For some five or ten minutes they 
lay rising and falling upon the rollers ; then, seeing 
his opportunity, Christian gave the order, the natives 
plunged their paddles into the water with swift, strong 
strokes, and sent the boat spinning shoreward on the 
crest of a curling wave. Twenty feet from the beach 
they leapt out, in another minute the boat had touched 
the shingle, and the crew had hauled it out of 
danger. 

Directly in front of them was a winding path, long 
unused, which led to a plateau beyond ; Christian and 
Tairoa led the way up the ascent, and they quickly 
gained the edge. And then even Christian could not 
repress a cry of excited admiration at the marvellous 
beauty of the scene. Back from the white beach, 
which like a strip of ivory lay below amid the emerald 



BOUNTY BAY 159 

green of a belt of encircling coco-palms, there stood 
revealed an amphitheatre of the loveliest verdure and 
most enchanting appearance, surrounded on three 
sides by wild and densely wooded mountains. West- 
ward, about a mile away across the plateau, a lofty 
peak raised itself high above its less conspicuous fellows, 
whose bold and romantic-looking semicircle, diversified 
by noble, jutting crags and tapering peaks, encom- 
passed the softer beauties of the smiling valley. 
Scarcely more than a mile in width from east to 
west, the extraordinary fertility and variety of verdure 
was such that Christian and his companions gazed 
upon their surroundings with feelings little short of 
rapture. Overhead, the lofty plumes of the stately 
palms swayed and rustled to the flower-scented 
breath of the trade-wind as it stirred the rich green 
foliage of the breadfruit trees. Along the seaward- 
facing edge of the plateau clusters of pandanus palms, 
with their ripe, red fruit, waved their feathery banners 
to the breeze. Beyond the crowns of the murmur- 
ing palms, and the wide outspreading branches of the 
tamanu and breadfruit and pandanus trees, lay the blue, 
heaving bosom of the Pacific. 

For some little time they remained spellbound, 
drinking in the beauty of land and sea and sky 
around them, and listening to the music of the 
mountain torrent as it wound downward through its 
rocky bed to the bright valley, to mingle its pure waters 
with the ocean. Then with a sigh of satisfaction the 
leader bade his men follow him back to the boat. A 
mile off he could see the 'Bounty^ which had just gone 



i6o THE MUTINEER 

about, and was now standing in again, her white 
canvas shining in the dazzling sunlight. 

Before launching the boat, the crew threw into her 
a hundred or more of young drinking coconuts, 
which they had hastily gathered from the nearest 
trees, for the use of the women. Then, all talking 
together of the richness and fertility of the island, 
they picked up their canoe paddles and quickly sent 
the boat in safety through the breaking surf. 

Christian was soon on deck and described the 
appearance and capabilities of the island to the fore- 
most of his comrades, who were all well pleased at his 
account, and left their future course entirely in his 
hands. He was not long, therefore, in coming to a 
decision. 

The wind was now from the south-east and blew 
gently but steadily into the little bay, so it was agreed 
that the ship should work round the south-west point 
and be headed directly for the beach. The deep water 
which ran close to the foot of the mountains all round 
the island, except where a narrow strip of beach 
separated land and sea, would enable them to get 
everything out of the 'Bounty likely in the future to 
be useful ; and the destruction of the ship. Christian 
knew, would prevent his companions from yielding to 
any sudden impulse and risking his and their safety by 
an attempt to leave the long-sought place of refuge. 

In order that Young and Brown (the gardener) might 
take a look at their future home, Christian sent the 
boat away a second time ; for the wind being light it 
would be some time before he could effect the purpose 



BOUNTY BAY i6i 

he had in view. Two hours later, when she was 
within a quarter of a mile of the southern point of the 
little bay, the boat was seen coming out again, and 
soon gained the ship. Young was greatly pleased 
with the beauty of the place, and reported that he 
had searched for a suitable anchorage and had found a 
spot where the ship would be safe enough during the 
continuance of such calm weather, for the sea on that 
side of the island was but moderate. 

But at the word "anchorage" Christian shook his 
head, and Young therefore pursued the subject no 
further. Brown, who had a considerable knowledge 
of botany, said that he had found many plants upon 
the island which were edible and would prove of 
value ; and his and Young's remarks confirmed 
Christian and the others in their opinion that the 
island would, when the ship's stores were exhausted, 
yield them ample provisions in all respects save that 
of animal food. The varied fruits and vegetables 
also would be enough to support them till the ship's 
stock of goats, pigs, and fowls had so increased that 
they might begin to kill them with safety. 

The boat being passed astern. Christian hove the 
ship to, called all hands together and told them his 
intentions. 

" I have decided to run the ship ashore, and then 
burn her," he said. 

Without hesitation every one agreed to abide by his 
decision. Then the sails of the 'Bounty were filled for 
the last time, and in a few minutes she was heading 
straight for the beach. 

12 



i6z THE MUTINEER 

Every heart on board beat more quickly as the old 
ship neared the end of her life. 

Christian, his eyes fixed upon a small rock which 
marked the centre of the little bay, stood at the helm. 
The act of severing this last link with the past almost 
unnerved him, and every moment of the ship's progress 
towards the breakers seemed like an hour. Whole 
years of time in the life that was now for ever gone 
raced swiftly in the current of his thoughts. But this, 
the end for him of all his past, so lingered in its fulfil- 
ment, that time after time he was on the point of 
throwing the ship aback, saving her from destruction 
before it was too late and giving him, felon as he was, 
a last chance to end his days, even though a fugitive, 
in a foreign land ; or he could return to England, and 
then — a disgraceful death. With the means of escape 
cut off perpetual exile faced him, and disseverance 
from all which was once dear. 

A slight touch upon his arm, and Mahina stood 
looking into his face and reading his mind as clearly 
as if he had spoken aloud. With the gentle pressure 
of her hand, the look of unutterable love from the 
dark, tender eyes, his indecision was gone. 

" Mahina," he said, " thou art right ; I was waver- 
ing. To all men this moment comes sometimes in 
their lives, and they often decide wrongly ; but 
between thee and what lieth beyond I should indeed 
be a fool to hesitate. 

Her lips quivered ; bending her head over the wheel 
she kissed his hand, and her warm tears of silent sym- 
pathy nerved him anew. 



BOUNTY BAY 163 

A few seconds more, and with a voice as firm as 
though he were about to anchor the ship, Christian 
gave the word to let go the halliards and sheets, and, 
while the hissing of the boiling surf breaking across 
the entrance of the bay drowned the rattle of blocks 
and the flapping of canvas, the 'Bounty ploughed 
through the seas towards the shore. Wave after wave 
swept roaring past her on either side, their snowy 
summits running level with the tops of her bulwarks ; 
with slowness tormenting to her expectant crew, she 
gradually lost her way, struck the beach gently, ground 
a few feet of furrow in the glistening pebbles and 
sand, and then settled into her last resting-place with 
scarcely a quiver of her timbers. 



CHAPTER XIX 

HEWERS OF WOOD AND DRAWERS OF WATER 

WITH shouts of joy the Tahitians and 
Tubuaians, men and women alike, clambered 
from the bows of the ship to the beach ; the white 
men caught their enthusiasm, and they too, all but 
Christian, who remained with Mahina, jumped ashore, 
and for a while everything was forgotten but the one 
delightful truth that the weary quest for a resting- 
place was ended at last. 

Christian, however, soon recalled them to the need 
for work. Before abandoning their old home it was 
necessary to build a new one. So the ship was made 
as secure as possible where she lay, and while the 
white men went to work to dismantle her, the brown 
people, with Christian and Mahina, set about selecting 
a site for their dwellings. 

For the first few days after landing they lived in 
tents and such rough shelters as could be built with 
canvas and planks from the ship, and during this time 
a survey was made of the island. It was then by 
mutual consent divided into nine parts — one portion 

164 



HEWERS OF WOOD 165 

to each Englishman. As for the islanders, none of 
the white men, except Christian and Smith, seemed 
to think of them as having equal shares and rights in 
the undertaking ; even Mahina seemed surprised that 
her husband should regard them as anything but 
servants and tillers of the soil. Finding that all the 
other seamen except Smith w^ere determined against 
giving their brown associates any land whatever. 
Christian, after a few words of expostulation, withdrew 
all further opposition and let matters take their 
course, and the Tahitians and Tubuaians began to 
build houses and prepare land for planting. 

But just as axes and hoes had been served out to 
the natives by McCoy and Young, and while the 
rest of Christian's comrades were present, the Tubuaian 
chief stepped out from among the natives, and fixing 
his eyes on the man Williams, who had especially 
resented the idea that land should be given them, 
he addressed Christian. He spoke very slowly and 
clearly, and even those of the mutineers whose know- 
ledge of the Tubuaian language was limited, could 
grasp the meaning of his words. 

" I, Tairoa-Maina, am a chief. In my own land 
of Tubuai, for me, a warrior and a man of good blood, 
to labour for others would be shameful and degrading. 
But I and Talalu, who is my friend, and of as good 
blood as myself, have no thoughts such as this now ; 
our hearts are eaten up with love for Kirisiani and 
his wife Mahina, and for they alone do I and 
Talalu go forth to labour like slaves. Like myself, 
Kirisiani is a chief in his own land, that I well know. 



i66 THE MUTINEER 

And I know, oh men of Peretane, that there are some 
among you who have evil in your hearts." 

" Cease, cease, my brother," said Mahina, taking 
the chief's hand. " Well do my husband and myself 
know^ that thou and Talalu are indeed friends to us ; 
but, I pray thee, make no bad blood between him and 
the other white men." 

"You've always had too much to say," said 
Williams, advancing to Tairoa savagely with his hand 
upon his knife. Christian sprang upon him and 
gripped him by the wrist. 

"Stand back, Williams. Raise your hand to that 
man and I'll choke you. Do you want to begin 
our new life by bloodshed ? Listen to me, and 
weigh well my words. I have long seen how you 
have tried to harass and thwart me in my endeavours 
for our common good ; of that which is passed I 
will think no more ; but, by the living God, do not 
attempt it again ! And do not seek to injure this man 
Tairoa-Maina, who has been a good friend to us all, 
and should in common justice have equal rights with 
ourselves." 

With a look of bitter hatred, Williams sullenly 
turned away, and calling his wife Faito to follow him, 
left the others and took no further part in their dis- 
cussions. 

During the following week the 'Bounty was stripped 
of everything below and aloft, inside and outside ; 
even her planks were removed from her sides, and the 
copper, nails, bolts, and such useful articles carefully 
stored on shore, and nothing of her being left out of I 



HEWERS OF WOOD 167 

the water but the frame, she was set on fire. What 
remained of her charred hull was floated and sunk in 
the bay, which from that day the white men 
called Bounty Bay, and the Tubuaians Te Moega te 
Pahi — the resting-place of the ship. 

Although Christian relinquished the command of 
his fellow adventurers as soon as they had landed, he 
was still tacitly recognised as their leader, and his 
advice sought and taken upon many matters. For 
some days the people lived in tents, and all, brown and 
white alike, worked at clearing the nine portions of 
land, and building thereon houses, the roofs of which 
were skilfully and quickly thatched by the women. 
For this they used the stiff leaves of the pandanus or 
screw-palm, which grew on the island in profusion, 
and yielded, in addition to its strong, useful timber 
and leaves, quantities of rich yellow fruit. 

Mahina, always a favourite with the Tahitians, had 
now gained very great influence over them all, and 
Alrema, who was possessed of undaunted courage and 
iron resolution, was equally well-liked, and was a 
fitting mate for her husband, who, reckless as he was 
by nature, ifelt and yielded to the influence of his 
young and beautiful wife, whose easy manners and 
soft ways veiled, as he knew, a capacity for heroic 
deeds where her love for him was concerned or her 
jealousy or hatred was aroused. Unknown to Chris- 
tian she had been, from the very day of their return to 
Tahiti, a silent force working both in his and her 
husband's interests to maintain their supremacy over 
the rest of the white men. Nothing escaped her 



i68 THE MUTINEER 

keen observation ; danger to Christian, she knew, 
meant danger to Young, and she was quick to note 
and take heed of the slightest murmuring of dis- 
affection, and to nullify it by inducing Christian, 
either through Mahina or Young, to make some 
concession. 

Of Quintal and Williams she was especially dis- 
trustful. The former, once an ardent supporter of 
Christian, had of late begun to associate much with 
Williams, who was of a dangerous and savage dis- 
position. Faito, his wife, was a tender, delicate girl, 
scarcely more than fifteen years of age ; but at a 
period when even the roughest and coarsest of men 
might have been expected to have shown her some 
tenderness and consideration, she received nothing but 
curses for her weakness and incapacity to attend fully 
to his wants. 

" Perhaps," she one day said weepingly to Alrema 
and Mahina, as the three were plaiting thatch for the 
roof of a house, " perhaps he will again be the same to 
me when my child is born and I become strong again. 
But to-day he cursed me because, being wearied, I lay 
down for a little while, and he said that he was a fool 
to take such a weak thing as I to wife." 

Alrema's eye flashed and her white teeth showed 
through her parted lips. " Aye, I heard the dog — and 
I heard more ; what said he of Malama, the wife of 
Kawintali (Quintal) ? " 

Faito covered her face with her hands ; in an instant 
Mahina's arms were round her waist and her head 
pillowed upon Mahina's bosom. 



HEWERS OF WOOD 169 

" Nay, heed him not, Faito ; Malama fears him, 
and never wilt thou be wronged by her." 

The sifl tried to smile throuo-h her tears. " It 
may be so ; but to-day he said that 'twas Malama who 
should have been wife to him, for she is well and 
strong." 

" Not so strong but that my knife shall eat into her 
heart if she comes between thy husband and thee," 
said Alrema fiercely. " Her husband is but a dull 
head where women are concerned ; but thy husband 
is as cunning as a rat. And I know that they both 
are evilly disposed to Kirisiani and to my husband ; 
they say this land of Afita is too small for so many. 
By and by they shall have but a very small piece — 
so small indeed that a child may step across it." 

With these ominous words Alrema went away ; and 
so began to germinate the seeds of discontent and dis- 
trust, which later ripened to a deadly feud. 

But for some little time matters went on well enough ; 
even those who were secretly resentful of Christian's 
influence over their brown-skinned associates yet 
worked willingly enough for the common good, and 
performed the daily task allotted to them without 
murmuring. 

Within three weeks, nine houses — one for each of 
the mutineers — were completed, and Christian one 
day announced that the next joint work would be 
to provide four similar dwellings, three for the 
Tahitians and their wives, and one for the three 
Tubuaians — who, being single men, would live to- 
gether. 



170 THE MUTINEER 

For some moments no one spoke — then Williams, 
who was sitting beside Quintal upon the bole of a 
large toa tree which had been felled for house- 
building, laid down his pipe, stood up, and confronted 
Christian. 

"You don't expect us to build houses for these 
natives, do you, Mr. Christian ? " he said, and Alrema, 
who stood near, noted the glance that passed between 
him and Quintal. 

" Why should we not ? Are not these people as 
good as ourselves ? Have they not done thrice as 
much as we have in building our own dwellings ? " 

He spoke quietly, but there was a dangerous tone in 
his voice, and Young, Mahina, and Alrema, who 
knew now his slightest mood, looked with anxiety for 
what was to follow. 

" I, for one, will be damned if I work for 
savages," said Quintal, rising and standing beside 
Williams. 

" We didn't come here to work, Mr. Christian," 
joined in Mills, the gunner's mate, gloomily ; " I 
think these fellows ought to work for us, and not we 
for them." 

" You are all pretty much of this opinion ? " asked 
Christian slowly, with an inquiring glance, and in a 
savagely contemptuous tone of voice. 

A quick and angry murmur of assent came from 
all but Young and Smith, who quietly walked apart 
from the others and stood beside Christian. 

Then Smith, after a whispered word with Alrema 
and his own wife, Terere, stepped out in front. 



HEWERS OF WOOD 171 

"I, for one, sir, will lend a hand right willingly. 
Give your orders, Mr. Christian, and I'll obey them." 

This brought no remark from the rest, and Young 
drawing his comrade aside, said quietly, " My dear 
Christian, what is the use of sneering at the men in 
this fashion. It is scarcely likely that British seamen 
— damned lazy dogs they are, too — could be induced 
to work side by side with island savages ; and your 
manner of asking them invited their refusal." 

Pushing aside Young's restraining hand, Fletcher 
Christian turned to the group of seamen, and, with 
flashing eyes and voice trembling with rage and con- 
tempt, said — 

" Have your own way ; I have done with the 
lot of you, and am glad to be clear of you. For 
your own sakes I have, so far, kept control. If I 
led you into mutiny I stood by you and brought 
you to a place of safety. I can die or live here 
— I care nothing which way it is. But understand 
this : I will be no party to making slaves of men 
whom I look upon as equal to myself — and supe- 
rior to such damned soldiers as you. Go to hell, 
the whole lot of you, in your own way ! " Then he 
walked rapidly away, followed by the trembling 
Mahina, and the unmoved, undaunted Alrema. 

As soon as he had disappeared among the palm- 
groves, Talalu, who understood enough English to 
comprehend the nature of the discussion that had 
taken place, turned to Young, and said in Tahitian — 

" Do not quarrel about this matter, Etuati. There 
are plenty of us to build houses. Our hands are 



172 THE MUTINEER 

strong and our hearts are not made sore because 
these our friends think we alone should work on 
Afita. Come, my countrymen, let us to work. 
Never must angry words come between us and the 
white men." 

A cheerful assent was the response ; the natives 
shouldered their axes and, followed by Tairoa and 
the others, walked ofF in single file towards a clump 
of toa trees. 

" Why, damn it all," said Mills, with a coarse 
laugh, " those fellows have more sense than Christian ! 
They know well enough that we ain't the sort to 
work for them. Why, it's agin' nature." 

For a few days after this nothing occurred to widen 
the breach. The Tahitians worked with a will, 
lightening their labours with many a song and merry 
jest ; for they were by nature an amiable and kindly- 
hearted people, full to overflowing of the most gene- 
rous instincts and noble impulses, and their devotion 
to Christian and his beautiful wife was sufficient 
reason for them to toil unrepiningly for the rest of the 
white men ; to their simple minds, those who sought 
to oppress them were of Christian's race and, as such, 
had a claim upon them. But underneath all their 
present content there was yet a hidden current of dis- 
satisfaction which only the quick mind of Alrema had 
fathomed, and she was a woman who meant to make 
use of it when the time came. So, while the white 
seamen lay in their houses and ate and drank and were 
waited upon by their obedient Tahitian wives, the 
brown men let the white slowly but surely assume 



HEWERS OF WOOD 173 

the rights of masters over them, and uncomplainingly 
became hewers of wood and drawers of water. 

At night when the fires were blazing and the 
rude lamps brought from the ship were lighted, the 
islanders would assemble in front of the white men's 
houses ; and with the wives of the mutineers (except 
Alrema and Mahina) sing old Tahitian songs such as 
the bounty's people had heard in the days when their 
ship floated on the placid waters of Matavai Bay. 
Sometimes, when the sea was smooth, men and women 
together would go down to the ledges of the cliffs 
and fish in the deep waters at their base, returning 
home laden with many a weighty basket. Tairoa- 
Maina and his two countrymen had already made a 
canoe, and the marvellous ingenuity with which it 
was constructed with such rough tools — for they had 
but axes and knives and a few chisels— aroused the 
admiration even of the lazy Englishmen. The houses 
of the white men, too, were monuments of the untiring 
patience and skill of the Tahitians. Built of the 
timber of breadfruit and toa^ and thatched beautifully 
with the russet-coloured leaves of the pandanus palm, 
oblong in shape, they bore an almost exact resem- 
blance, inside and out, to the dwellings in Tahiti 
and Tubuai. Their furniture was nearly all of native 
pattern, and consisted in each house of the owner's 
share of the spoils from the ^ounty^ with rough 
wooden stools and benches made from the wood of 
the breadfruit, toa or tamanu tree. The floors were 
first of all laid out with about a foot of smooth, sea- 
worn pebbles, brought by the women in baskets from 



174 THE MUTINEER 

the little beach where the ship was run ashore, and 
then covered over with coarse mats of coconut leaf. 
Over this was spread finer matting made from the 
pandanus leaf, and over this again squares of canvas 
cut from the bounty's sails. Upon this a thick layer 
of still finer mats, brought from Tahiti, was placed, 
and this formed the beds of the occupants. 

The long months spent at sea upon the ship had 
greatly changed the habits and customs of the Tahi- 
tians, until in some things there was but little differ- 
ence between them and their white associates — or 
rather masters. But now that they were both once 
more on land the Englishmen were glad to adopt, in 
their turn, many of the ways of the natives, and so 
the two races gradually acquired from each other such 
new habits and modes of life as were best suited to 
their altered state. 

To their white husbands the Tahitian women were 
always considerate and dutiful ; they ministered to 
the men's wants so skilfully that the rough sailors 
found their days slip by in the greatest ease and com- 
fort, and had some sort of selfish affection for their 
wives. It was contrary to the custom of Tahiti for 
the women to eat with the men, or even to drink out 
of the same utensils as their husbands, or partake of 
food which had been either handled or prepared by 
the superior sex; and in this respect the laws of 
custom proved too strong to be broken, even though 
their husbands good-humouredly urged them to do so, 
they were quite content to wait upon their lords and 
masters and eat by themselves afterwards. But 



HEWERS OF WOOD 175 

Christian, Young, and Smith, who regarded their 
wives as something better than mere chattels or 
objects of selfish passion, tried hard to combat this 
custom, and in some degree succeeded ; so that 
Mahina, Alrema, and Terere all abandoned the 
Tahitian habit of one regular meal on rising, and 
taking food and drink at infrequent intervals during 
the remainder of the day, and prepared and ate meals 
in the English fashion. 

Although no longer on more than terms of ordi- 
nary civility with the rest of the white men, other 
than Young and Smith, Christian would come in the 
evenings sometimes from his house to exchange a few 
words with them as they sat outside upon the grassy 
sward before their dwellings listening to the Tahitians 
as they sang and chanted or played music upon their 
reed vivos.^ When they were tired of singing, the 
happy monotony of the long nights would be relieved 
by the brown women, who, like all Polynesians, were 
born story-tellers, with tales of their early childhood, 
the old traditions and legends of their island homes, 
and about the marvellous origin and great deeds of 
their ancestors. Fabulous and absurd as was much 
even of their history — for it was so interwoven with 
their wild mythology that the seamen merely heard 
it with a good-natured smile of contempt — there was 
yet enough of truth in it to interest Christian and 
Young ; and their attention pleased the wives of the 
seamen greatly, and indeed helped to sow the seeds 
of indifference towards their husbands, who they now 

' Flutes of three notes. 



176 THE MUTINEER 

began to perceive were men in intelligence far below 
the one-time officers of the bounty. 

But even the rough seamen could not fail to be 
amused at some of the early Tahitian notions of 
England. For instance, they had somehow acquired 
the idea — perhaps from travellers' tales of early 
voyages — that England was once a large island, the 
centre of which was made of iron ; but continuous 
wars with other nations had resulted in all the outside 
soil being shot away with cannon balls till there was 
nothing left but a solid mass of iron. It was also 
believed that there were ships in England forty leagues 
long with masts so high that they pierced beyond the 
clouds, and that a young man in full health and 
strength going to the masthead grew grey before he 
reached the deck again ; while on the great round 
tops of the lower masts were rich gardens of fruit, 
in which men lived. 

Another story told how the captain of an English 
ship of war, which carried so many cannons that it 
took one man a year to count them, was incensed at 
the conduct of the people of a certain island ; so that 
hooking one of the ship's anchors to a mountain, he 
set sail, tore the island from its foundations, and 
towed it away to the region of cold, where the people 
perished. But although these tales were believed by 
their narrators, they would not accept the white men's 
stories of stone houses many feet high and of rivers 
crossed by bridges of stone with no support under- 
neath. 

As time wore on, some of the women began to 



HEWERS OF WOOD 177 

adopt the semi-European style of clothing ; and this 
while it did not become them so well as their own 
native dress, yet pleased their husbands and showed 
the women's desire to render themselves attractive in 
the white men's eyes. 



13 



i 



CHAPTER XX 

mahina's first-born 



GLOOMY and melancholy as ever, since the day 
of the mutiny Christian had gradually allowed 
his bitter thoughts so utterly to overcome hun that 
even towards Mahina he showed cruel mdifFerence. 
For days a word would not escape his lips, save when 
his wife put some direct question to him concernmg 
his movements or intentions; and both Young and 
Smith, attached to him as they were, now ceased their 
evening visits entirely. Sometimes, when the fires 
were lit after sunset, Mahina-her dark eyes filled 
with tears-would watch her husband go to the door 
of their little dwelling, stand there for a minute or two 
lost in thought, and walk silently away along the edge 
of the cliffs. Often when she would have accompamed 
him he quietly, but yet firmly, pushed her hand aside, 
and with an impatient exclamation quickened his steps 
so as to be away from her the sooner. Hour after hour 
would pass while Mahina, weeping softly to herselt, sat 
outside awaiting her husband's return. Sometimes her 
solitude would be broken by the gigantic Talalu, 



MAHINA'S FIRST-BORN 179 

whose dog-like devotion to Christian led him to 
leave his own house and join her in her saddened 
watch. 

Early one morning Mahina, accompanied by Alrema 
and Talalu, set out for a day's ramble in the wild, 
mountainous interior of the island ; Christian, scarcely 
noting her absence, left the house a few hours later for 
his solitary haunts on the high cliffs. About sunset he 
returned, and the moment his figure appeared over the 
ridge behind which the little house was situated, 
Mahina ran to meet him with outstretched hands, her 
face radiant with childish joy. Placing her hand on 
her husband's arm she told him in excited tones that 
she and Talalu had found traces of her ancestors in 
many places on the southern portion of the island. 

Flinging down his musket, Christian seated himself 
on the low, rough seat erected by the side of his 
dwelling, and for some moments seemed quite 
oblivious of Mahina's presence. At last, however, 
in answer to her continued exclamations of delight, 
he replied bitterly — 

" Trouble me not with such things, Mahina. What 
care I who lived here in the past ? The misery of 
living in the present is enough for me," and so 
saying he buried his face in his hands. 

The savage energy in his voice made her tremble at 
first, but the indifferent manner in which he treated 
the news of her discovery touched her to the quick, 
and she blazed out in hot anger — 

" Thou cruel Kirisiani ! What have we who love 
thee done that thou shouldst cease to care for us ? 



i8o THE MUTINEER 

What have I, thy wife, done that thou shouldst so 
answer when I speak to thee ? Were I a slave thou 
couldst not insult me more than thou hast done." 

Christian merely shrugged his shoulders, rose and 
walked back towards the cliffs, although food had been 
prepared for him by his disheartened wife. 

Brushing away the tears that would still come, 
Mahina entered the silent house, put out the lamp, 
and seated herself before the dimly-burning fire, 
wondering what it was that had so changed her 
husband's manner towards her and, indeed, to every 
one else. That he was engaged in working alone on 
one of the highest spots on the island she knew, for he 
had taken tools with him from time to time ; but 
where the spot was and what was the nature of his 
toil she could not even guess. He had sternly forbidden 
her to follow him, and even Talalu dared not attempt 
to discover his retreat. 

So for many days Talalu and Mahina contented 
themselves with talking over their discoveries with 
Tairoa-Maina, who himself a descendant of the now 
extinct people of Afita, of course took a keen interest 
in all that related to his ancestors. 

Taking some food with them, the three one day set 
out to make further explorations. On the eastern side 
of the island some rocks were discovered among a 
dense, scrubby thicket, through which they had to cut 
their way with seamen's cutlasses brought for the 
purpose ; on the faces of these rocks were rude 
drawings of birds, fishes, turtle, and of the sun, 
moon and stars, besides what Tairoa-Maina said was 



MAHINA'S FIRST-BORN i8i 

a chart of the islands in the surrounding ocean, show- 
ing the track to be taken by a canoe in voyaging 
among them. At another spot, not far from the high 
cathedral-shaped rock on the south-east point, they 
found in a cave numbers of stone spear and arrow- 
heads. Many of these were unused implements, and 
the cave in which they were found had evidently been 
a storehouse for food as well as an armoury ; for in its 
earthen floor were a number of pits which had once 
been silos for the storage of breadfruit, yams, and other 
food. Almost in the centre of the island, Tairoa one 
day came across the very burial-places of his and 
Mahina's forefathers. Round this cemetery were 
a number of rude images of human figures, and huge 
squared blocks of stone lay about in profusion. 

At evening they returned home, full of the im- 
portant discoveries they had made, and would again 
have spoken to Christian on the subject, but that his 
distant manner forbade them. 

As the days passed this moroseness so grew upon 
him that there was little doubt his mind had become 
diseased, and about a week after Mahina's discoveries 
in the mountains he began to absent himself from her 
for two or three days together. 

Unknown even to his tender and devoted wife, 
he had furnished a roomy cave situated in a mountain 
recess on the opposite side of the island. It was his 
intention, he afterwards told Mahina, to hide in this 
cavern should a ship of war by any chance arrive. He 
had stocked it with provisions and water, and arms and 
ammunition, so that he might defend himself to the 



i82 THE MUTINEER 

last in case of discovery, for he swore that he would 
never be taken alive. 

The completion of his hiding-place seemed to please 
him somewhat, and he now at times was more sociable 
with the other white men when by chance he passed 
their dwellings or met any of them in his lonely 
walks ; and sometimes, to their great joy, he would 
join Talalu and the other natives in a fishing excursion. 
Then, as she saw him ascending the cliffs towards their 
home, Mahina's face would brighten, and she and her 
girl friends would eagerly welcome him, and instantly 
prepare to cook the fish he brought. 

For some little time matters went on without 
change in Christian's home till towards the close of 
the year an event occurred which temporarily roused 
him from his lethargy. This was the birth of his first 
child — a boy. 

To Mahina's great happiness, her husband consented 
that the customs of her race should be observed, and at 
her request he went away to his cave to remain there 
till the child was born. 

In the meantime, under the direction of Quintal's 
wife, the oldest Tahitian woman present, the others 
prepared in the centre of the great room a sort of 
bower of leaves and fine matting. Upon its floor was 
placed a heap of heated stones, which were constantly 
replaced by others as they cooled. Upon the stones 
were thrown great bunches of such sweet-smelling 
herbs and flowers as the island afforded, and these were 
from time to time sprinkled with water, so that the 
house was kept filled with the perfume of the herbs. 



MAHINA'S FIRST-BORN 183 

In this bower Mahina remained till the birth of her 
infant ; and then Christian was waited upon by the 
other women and asked what amua (gifts) he had 
ready for the child. 

Having been previously instructed by Quintal's 
wife, he replied — 

"This is all that I, Kirisiani of Peretane, have for 
mine and Mahina's infant, for it is all that this land of 
Afita yields," and he placed in their hands small quan- 
tities of breadfruit, taroy and such other fruits as grew 
on Pitcairn. This was all that was expected of him, 
and file women went away pleased that he had allowed 
them to follow their native customs so far. In Tahiti 
it was the practice for a woman to live some weeks 
with her new-born infant in the sacred grounds of the 
maraes or temples of Oro and Tane, in order that 
the favour of the gods might be assured for the child's 
future. But under the influence of their white hus- 
bands the women of Pitcairn had abandoned much of 
their religious ceremonies, and so this one was not 
observed by Mahina, on the plea that, although they 
had found a marae on the island, there was nothing to 
show that it had been built by worshippers of Oro and 
Tane, but really because she knew that Christian 
disliked her clinging to Tahitian customs. 

After Christian had presented his gifts, he was 
followed by all the others, each person bringing an 
amua either of food, live stock, clothing or matting. 
These were deposited at the mother's feet, and the 
ceremonies were concluded. 

To Mahina's delight Christian remained constantly 



i84 THE MUTINEER 

with her for some weeks after this event ; his manner 
to her and the infant was gentle and kind, and she now 
began to hope that her husband's former affection for 
her had not entirely died away. Poor girl, she was 
soon undeceived. 

One evening she and her friends were at one end of 
the room silently toying with the infant ; Young, 
Smith, and Christian were sitting smoking on the 
bench outside. The evening was wonderfully clear 
and still and, but for the ceaseless throbbing of the 
surf upon the cliffs below, no sound disturbed the 
silence. 

Presently she heard Young's voice addressing her 
husband, and (for she now spoke English fairly well 
and understood it still better) listened to hear what 
they were saying. 

" What do you intend to call the boy ? " asked 
Young. "Will you name him after yourself?" 

" No," answered Christian, with intense contempt ; 
"do you think that I will let the little savage per- 
petuate his father's name and shame ? She can call the 
brat by any name she pleases, except mine." 

Both Young and Smith were silent, and the latter 
looked troubled. Attached as he was to Christian, he 
felt that Mahina's steady devotion had deserved better 
of her husband. 

"You are a strange man. Christian," said Young, 
presently ; and calling Alrema he took her by the 
hand and led her away, giving Christian only a curt 
" good-night." He was soon followed by Terere and 
her husband ; Christian remained alone outside, lost 



MARINA'S FIRST-BORN 185 

in thought, and heard nothing of a soft sobbing 
within. 

Midnight was long past when he rose and went 
inside. He thought Mahina was asleep, but just as he 
laid his head upon the pillow he felt her hand upon his 
forehead. 

" Kirisiani, I heard thee speak to-night. Not all 
did I understand ; only this — that thou dost despise 
thy child, and wilt not give him thy name." 

" Call it by some Tahitian name, Mahina ; 'tis not 
an English child." 

" True," she answered brokenly ; " but yet 'tis thy 
child, and his eyes are thy eyes ; and when I look 
into his face I see thy eyes looking into mine, as they 
did when thy heart was warm with love for me, its 
mother. And for this do I desire to call it by a name 
of thy tongue and by no other." 

" Very well," he answered, after a moment's thought, 
"have your own way — stay, I have a name for it. It 
was born upon a Thursday in October. Call it Thurs- 
day October, for " — and his voice grew hard and 
sneering — " 'tis the way they name negro children in 
the West Indies. It is only fitting that this little 
savage should have some such name." 

And Mahina, not understanding the full meaning of 
his words, called her first-born by the name given it by 
her husband. 



CHAPTER XXI 



THE FIRST TO DIE 



ALL day long, from the red blush of sunrise till the 
mantle of the quick, tropic night enshrouded 
the lonely island, thousands upon thousands of sea-birds 
circled round the high mountain peaks and vine-covered 
crags of Afita, and filled the air with their w^ild 
clamour. At one place, where the grim cliffs started 
sheer upward from the crashing surf, they had made 
their rookeries upon a series of narrow ledges v/hich 
traversed the face of the rock in undulating lines from 
the summit. The highest of these ledges was perhaps 
fifty feet from the scrub-covered edge of the precipice ; 
the lowest just out of the reach of the drenching spray 
that in stormy weather sprang upward in misty showers 
from the wild commotion of the waves beneath. 

Here, with faces turned seaward, the great black 
frigate birds and the blue-billed kanapu^ with many 
other species of ocean rangers, sat upon their eggs and 
hatched their young, and the weird cries of the fledg- 
lings mingled with the hoarse, croaking notes of the 
parent birds all through the night, and were borne 



186 



THE FIRST TO DIE 187 

in strange, mournful cadences and mysterious quaver- 
ings through the darkened forest to the dwellings of 
the mutineers and their brown-skinned associates. 

The eggs of these birds were much relished by 
the white men, and it was one of the duties of their 
patient wives to hazard their lives along the line of cliffs 
in collecting them. Sure-footed and agile, the women 
would sometimes be lowered by their companions 
above to the perilous ledges full fifty feet down, fill 
their baskets with eggs, and be hauled up again in 
safety, thinking nothing of the dreadful death that 
awaited them if the rope parted or they became over- 
whelmed with giddiness. The topmost ledge, where 
the fierce-eyed frigate birds had made their rookery, 
could be reached by clambering down the clifF and 
along its jagged face. 

For two or three days great numbers of these sea- 
birds had been seen flying swiftly towards the island 
from the eastward, and the Tahitians understood that 
the breeding season drew near, and that very shortly 
the female birds would be sitting. 

Early one morning Faito, the gentle, delicate-featured 
wife of the coarse and brutal Williams, set out along 
the edge of the cliffs to see if the frigate birds had 
begun to lay. She was alone. Heart-broken as she 
was at her husband's cruel conduct, her loving nature 
impelled her to venture her life upon the cliffs, so that 
she might be the first to bring the much-coveted eggs 
to her savage master. 

Presently, as she walked along, softly singing to her- 
self some chant of her Tahitian childhood, a pretty 



1 88 THE MUTINEER 

black and white kid — the progeny of one of the goats 
brought to the island in the Bounty — sprang out from 
the dense thicket scrub which bordered the mountain 
path, and darted along the edge of the precipice. 

The cry of delight that escaped from Faito at the 
prospect of catching the animal reached the ears of 
Talalu, who was some few hundred yards away, cutting 
down a toa tree. 

" Take care, take care, Faito," he cried, as the girl 
sped swiftly along, her black hair streaming behind her, 
her dark eyes glowing, and her bare bosom panting in 
the excitement of pursuit — for she knew that the 
capture of the kid would at least bring a pleasant word 
from Williams ; then, ere Talalu could shout another 
warning, her flying feet caught in a creeper, and with- 
out a cry she pitched headlong over the cliffs, with the 
sound of happy laughter yet upon her lips. 

Dashing through the thick scrub, Talalu reached 
the edge of the precipice and looked over ; there, on a 
little pebbly beach, hollowed out in the face of a chasm 
in the cliffs, he saw the dead and bleeding body of 
Faito lying upon the stones. 

This was the prologue to a bloody tragedy yet to be 
enacted on Pitcairn. 

Clambering down to the bottom of the cliffs by a 
devious and dangerous route, Talalu at last gained the 
spot where the body of the dead girl lay. He took it 
tenderly in his arms and pressed his face to hers, with 
streaming eyes and sobs of pity, then slowly and 
laboriously began the perilous ascent. 

It was noon when he reached the settlement. 



THE FIRST TO DIE 189 

Williams and Quintal were sitting together in front of 
the former's house when the Tahitian drew near with 
his burden. 

"What the hell's the matter now ? " asked the dead 
woman's husband roughly, when he saw his wife's 
figure lying in Talalu's brawny arms ; then, brute 
though he was, his dark features paled when her 
countryman turned Faito's dead face towards him. 

"Thy wife is dead, oh worker of iron. She sought 
to catch a kid, thinking to please thee. She tripped 
and fell — and died." 

Gently laying the body down upon the couch ot 
mats, he walked away without a word. 

The tidings of Faito's death soon brought the rest 
of the white men's wives to Williams' house, sobbing 
as they ran. The first to fling herself weeping upon 
the cold bosom of the dead girl was Nahi, the wife of 
Talalu. She was a tall, slenderly built woman, with 
big, passionate eyes, although she had the gentle, timid 
manner of a child. Seating herself by the body of the 
girl, Nahi first pressed her lips to the cold face of her 
friend, and then in whispered tones directed the others 
in their ministrations to the dead. Towards sunset, as 
they moved to and fro in the great room of the house, 
a figure darkened the doorway and Williams' harsh 
voice broke in upon the silence. 

"Hallo, Nahi," he said in English, without even 
glancing at the shrouded figure upon the floor, " how 
are you ? It's not often I catch a sight of you — and, 
by God ! you're too pretty a woman not to see often." 

Slowly Nahi rose to her feet. She understood every 



I90 THE MUTINEER 

word that was said to her, yet curbed her anger, and 
with downcast eyes and trembling hands answered him 
in Tahitian. 

"We come. Iron-worker, to mourn for Faito, thy 
wife." 

Something in her voice, and in her trembling, yet 
indignant attitude, made the callous-hearted man turn 
away without a further word. He stepped to the 
door, stood there irresolutely for a moment, and then 
disappeared into the darkness. 

All through the night the mourning watchers sat 
beside the dead girl ; at dawn the brown men dug her 
grave in the garden, some distance from the back of 
Williams' dwelling. Just as the sun became level with 
the summit of the cliffs and shot its bright darts 
through the leafy forest aisles, the little funeral pro- 
cession gathered round the grave, and Faito's body, 
lying upon a bier covered with garlands and wreaths of 
flowers and leaves, was placed beside it. Then, one by 
one, each of the men and women brought off'erings of 
food and young drinking coconuts and placed them by 
the bier, for to them the girl's soul was hovering near, 
and her body would need refreshment on its long 
journey to the world beyond. Nahi (who was not 
only a devoted friend of Faito, but a distant blood- 
relation as well), seated herself beside the grave, and in 
her soft Tahitian tongue, chanted stories of the dead 
girl's life ; she sang of her innocent childhood, of her 
deep affection for her parents ; of her loving, gentle 
nature ; of her soft, tender beauty ; of her love for 
the white iron-worker, and her voyage with him in 



THE FIRST TO DIE 191 

the 'Bounty. And then the singer's soul seemed to 
quicken, and her voice quivered and broke as she told 
the story of Faito's death ; and from those who sat 
around came quick, responsive sobs of grief. 

When she ceased the v/omen took keen-edged sharks' 
teeth, and thrust them into their arms and shoulders 
till the blood poured forth, while the men covered their 
faces with their hands, and bent their heads to the 
ground. 

For nearly an hour they sat thus, then in silence 
the men rose and walked quietly away, leaving the 
women to mourn by themselves, in accordance with 
Tahitian custom, for two days beside the grave. 

That nitjht Mahina, who was alone in the house 
with her child, sought out Christian in his cave, 
where he had been for the past two days, and told 
him of Faito's death. 

" Her troubles are over," was his moody answer. 
" Would that I had the courage to leap over the cliffs 
and so end mine. But why come and tell me this ? 
It concerns me not." 

" She was ever my friend," answered Mahina, 
gently, " my friend and thine. I pray thee come 
mourn with me at her burial, else will shame fall 
upon me if thou art absent." 

He raised his dark face to hers, and an angry gleam 
shone in his eyes. " I tell thee, Mahina, thou dost 
but pester me. The woman is dead. Would I were 
in her place." 

" Thou cruel man," she said, and the tears fell 
quickly from her eyes as she pressed her child to 



192 THE MUTINEER 

her bosom, " thou art always in this strange mood 
now. Alas ! what evil has happened to thee and 
me ? What wicked spirit has turned thy heart 
against us ? Art thou tired of thy wife ? Is thy 
child, born to thee out of my great love, hateful to 
thy sight ? " Then the infant awoke, and she pressed 
it to her aching breast to soothe its cries. 

Christian sprang up from the matted couch upon 
which he lay, and with the light of madness in his 
eyes, cursed her, her child, and himself. " Go," he 
said at last, hoarsely, " go, leave me to my misery." 



CHAPTER XXII 



A LOYAL FRIEND 



MAHINA went alone to the burial of her friend, 
and the other women, when they saw her, 
knew that her sorrow was not so much for the dead 
girl as for the dead love of Christian. 

Returning from her husband's cave, she met Edward 
Young, who spoke so kindly that her overwrought 
feelings brought a flood of tears, and Young, with a 
strange look, had drawn her to him and bidden her 
be of good courage. He would always be her friend, 
he said, and it grieved him to see her sad. And 
Mahina, drying her tears, pressed his hand gratefully, 
and in her innocent fashion placed her cheek against 
his for a moment ; for was he not her husband's friend 
and brother, and therefore hers. And Edward Young, 
as she walked away, watched her with a smile on his 
lips, and muttered to himself — 

" The man is a fool. She is a glorious creature, 
and I — well I don't suppose he cares." 

On the second morning, long ere the sun had dried 
14 193 



194 THE MUTINEER 

the glittering diamonds of dew trembling on every 
leaf and blade of grass, Williams came across the 
greensward towards his wife's grave and addressed 
the mourning women. 

" Come now," he said roughly. " Faito's had 
enough of this foolery, and so have I. Put her in 
the ground, and make an end of it." 

Then Talalu and his countrymen stepped quietly 
out from beneath the shade of a great tamanu tree 
which stood near. They had brought their final 
offerings to the dead, and as they placed these at 
the foot of the grave, all the rest of the white men 
but Christian appeared upon the scene. 

At the harsh command of Williams, the women 
huddled timidly together, looking fearfully at one 
another ; and Talalu, leaving his countrymen, softly 
besought the man to allow them to continue their 
funeral customs, so that the spirit of Faito might rest 
in peace. Mahina, too, joined in his pleadings. 

To the brown-skinned people Williams had ever 
been a cruel taskmaster for whom they worked with- 
out murmuring for the sake of his wife, whom they 
loved ; and now that she was dead he seemed to care 
nothing, and would not even permit them to "com- 
fort her spirit." 

The remaining white men looked on in curious 
silence, while Talalu and Mahina begged Williams 
not to interrupt them. Williams had, however, 
acquired a certain influence over his countrymen, 
and they were not disposed to interfere. 

Again the harsh voice of the man bade the 



A LOYAL FRIEND 195 

mourners cease. " Let this folly end," he said 
angrily in Tahitian ; " begone, and get back to 
work." 

The words stung Talalu to the quick, and with 
flashing eyes and clenched hands he faced the white 
man. 

" Thou dog without a heart ! " he cried fiercely, 
" may thy mother's skin be made into a water- 
bottle ! Not content with our service and thy wife's 
devotion, thou would'st harrow the soul of the dead 
with thy harsh and cruel voice. Shame on thee for 
a pitiless man ! Go home and leave us with the body 
and the spirit of our kinswoman. She is nothing to 
thee now. Thou canst not harm her body, but her 
spirit is tormented by thy very presence here." 

With a furious gesture Williams advanced towards 
him, cursing him for an impudent slave, in the coarse 
language he always used towards the Tahitians. 
But quick as lightning Mahina intercepted him. 
"Stop, thou low-born sailor," she said, "and leave 
us, as Talalu hath desired thee, or it will go ill with 
thee ! I swear by Oro and Tane and the bones of 
my father to stab thee to the heart if thou dost but 
even raise thy hand to Talalu." 

Callous as the white men were, they drew back 
and muttered to Williams to leave her and her fellow- 
mourners alone ; and Williams himself blanched before 
the slight figure of Christian's wife, and with a savage 
threat of vengeance against Talalu, turned away, fol- 
lowed by the rest of the mutineers except Young. 
He, walking apart from them, seated himself on the 



196 THE MUTINEER 

trunk of a fallen tree near by, called Alrema, and told 
her to hasten to his house and bring his fowling-piece, 
as he intended to shoot some sea-birds. 

As soon as her graceful figure disappeared among 
groves of breadfruit between the grassy sward and the 
houses of the white men. Young walked over to where 
Mahina sat, apart from the others. 

" Dear friend of my heart," he said, taking her 
hand, " thou knowest that I am thy friend, dost thou 
not ? " 

" Truly," said Mahina, " always my friend — my 
friend and my brother, and the friend and brother 
of my husband." 

A disappointed look swept over Young's face, and 
he dropped her hand moodily. " Nay, not so now. 
It is always in my heart that he whom I once loved 
as a brother hath acted cruelly to thee. Thou art a 
woman fair and sweet, and to be for ever loved. And 
because he hath neglected and turned his heart away 
from thee and thy love hath my friendship for him 
grown smaller and smaller day by day." 

" By and by, when the evil moods have left him, he 
will love me again," said Mahina, looking straight 
before her, and as she spoke, the falling tears belied 
her hopeful words. 

For many minutes they sat thus, she weeping softly 
to herself, and Young watching his opportunity to 
speak again. Presently he saw Alrema returning with 
his fowling-piece. He rose and touched Mahina 
lightly on the shoulder. 

" Farewell till to-morrow," he said in a low voice. 



f 



A LOYAL FRIEND 197 

" Remember that I am always, always thy friend — 
and that I love thee — he no longer does." 

She looked up with a low, startled cry, and hastily 
rising from her seat, went over to the other women 
and took her child from Terere. The tone of Young's 
words had filled her with a strange feeling of misery 
and fear. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



THE OPPRESSOR 



FOR some time nothing happened to disturb the 
uneventful life of the islanders. Mahina, with 
aching heart, saw Christian daily grow more melan- 
choly and morose, and was heedless of all else. But 
as the year drew to a close her saddened face and 
sorrowful eyes must have touched her husband's heart, 
and when the birth of her second child was drawing 
near he left the cave and dwelt v/ith her till the infant 
was born and she was strong again. 

" Call him Charles," he said to her as she sat with 
with him one evening nursing the infant ; and the 
words, simple as they were, filled her still loving heart 
with a great joy. Twice only had she met Young 
since the day of Faito's burial, and though he had 
tried to detain her, she managed to get away from 
him ; for she now felt that he cared for her more than 
his loyalty to Alrema justified. 

During the same year others of the mutineers 

became fathers. In addition to Mahina's two there 

were now three other children playing upon the 

198 



THE OPPRESSOR 199 

matted floors of their parents' dwellings by day, and 
lulled to sleep at night by the ceaseless throbbing 
of the surf that beat against the stern cliffs of their 
island home. 

The houses occupied by Christian and Mahina, 
Young and Alrema, and Smith and Terere were a 
considerable distance from those of the other white 
men. That of Christian was furthest north-west of 
all ; indeed, it was quite shut out of view from the rest 
by a short, abrupt spur which shot eastward from the 
mountains almost to the verge of the beetling cliffs. 

Williams and Young lived near to each other. 
Some months after the burial of Faito the former 
called upon his neighbour and asked him to come 
outside for a few minutes. Alrema, who had noticed 
that her husband and Williams were becoming very 
intimate, gave the visitor an angry glance from her 
dark, long-lashed eyes, as he sat upon the bench in 
front of the house. 

" Let's go for a bit of a walk," said Williams pre- 
sently as Young joined him ; " I want to have a talk 
with you over that little matter " ; and he laughed 
coarsely, and by a gesture indicated his own dwelling. 

Young nodded, and Alrema saw the two men 
saunter off" together along the cliffs. She had always 
disliked Williams, and thought he was in some way 
responsible for her husband's manner to herself, which 
had so altered of late. Passionately fond of, and 
fiercely jealous of him, her quick perception of the 
change in his conduct filled her with a vague, un- 
defined alarm ; and although as yet she did not doubt 



200 THE MUTINEER 

his loyalty, she had seen how his face brightened 
visibly whenever Mahina and her child came to visit 
them. Of Mahina herself she had no misgivings ; 
but it seemed strange that whereas in former days she 
had always accompanied Young to Christian's house, 
he now frequently went there alone, although she had 
told him that Christian was in his cave. Mahina, too, 
seemed different, and her face wore a troubled, nervous 
look which her friend could not understand. 

After the birth of his second child Christian re- 
mained, for a time, constantly with his beautiful 
wife, whose face grew radiant with happiness. But 
soon his brooding mood returned to him in all its 
former force, and he resumed his lonely walks along 
the cliffs and spent his nights alone in his mountain 
cave. Mahina, Alrema knew, had long since resigned 
herself to her husband's fits of gloom, yet now she 
appeared more than ever a prey to melancholy. In 
some way Williams seemed to be connected with this, 
and Alrema noticed that whenever Young went to 
Christian's house Williams had preceded him there. 

Taking up her infant daughter in her arms, Alrema 
went outside and sat down under the shade of a bread- 
fruit tree to wait her husband's return. For nearly an 
hour she amused herself playing with the child, till, 
overpowered by the soft, languorous morning air, she, 
pillowing her head upon a rolled-up mat, slept. 

The sun was high when she was awakened by 
hearing voices near. She at once recognised Williams* 
harsh, and her husband's cool, quiet tones. As they 
talked they were passing through the breadfruit grove 



THE OPPRESSOR 201 

and stopped quite close to where she lay. Williams 
was speaking. 

" Well, that's understood. You stand by me and 
I'll stand by you. I'm going to get the woman I 
want if I have to shoot every damned red-skinned 
savage on the island to get her." 

" I'm not going in for anything like that," she 
heard her husband reply ; " I am quite content to 
wait till " 

"Till that lunatic jumps over the cliffs and leaves 
a widow for you," said Williams, with a coarse laugh. 
" Well, you've got more patience than me. If I 
wanted her I'd make just as short a job of him as I 
mean to make of this Talalu. Anyway, I'm going 
to set you a good example by taking another wife. 
Man alive ! what are you afraid of ? She'll be willing 
enough before long to come to you. She ain't the 
kind of woman to stay by herself while her husband 
leaves her to live in a cave. I daresay," he added, 
with another rude laugh, " that Alrema would lend 
you a hand to talk her over. That's what I'd have 
made Faito do." 

An angry exclamation of dissent from Young, and 
Alrema heard him leave his companion and go towards 
the house. Then, her brain reeling with dreadful 
suspicions of the man she loved and the friend she 
trusted, she took up her sleeping infant and followed 
him. 

Williams, with a wicked look upon his evil face, 
strode away towards his own dwelling. He had 
managed to secure one of the best and most fertile 



202 THE MUTINEER 

portions of the nine lots into which the island was 
divided, and by his domineering conduct succeeded in 
making the islanders perform more labour in its culti- 
vation than they expended upon any other of the 
mutineers' land. As he drew near his plantation he 
saw the gigantic figure of Talalu and the slender, 
graceful form of Nahi, his gentle wife, moving about 
in the garden. They were building a low wall of 
coral stones to enclose the plantation, and Williams' 
eyes gleamed savagely as he saw Nahi, who had just 
placed a stone in position, look up at her husband's 
face with a smile, to which Talalu responded with an 
endearing expression and a loving caress. 

The white man stood for a while watching them. 
The woman's lithe, supple figure, her bared bosom 
and long mantle of black hair falling over her rounded 
shoulders fascinated and yet irritated his savage, sensuous 
nature. " That fellow, that cursed, great hulking 
brute to possess such a woman ! And he only a 
slave ! " He watched her white teeth gleam, as her 
lips parted in an admiring smile, when Talalu, raising 
a huge, jagged stone in his brawny arms, placed it 
lightly upon the smaller one her slender hands had lifted. 

Williams sat and waited. He knew that at noon- 
time they would cease working for an hour to rest 
and wait upon him while he ate his mid-day meal. 
And then he meant to act. 

Presently, Talalu, glancing up at the sun, spoke to 
Nahi. They ceased their labours, and walked towards 
their own little dwelling of thatch. Outside stood a 
hollowed tree trunk filled with water. Then Williams 



THE OPPRESSOR 203 

saw Nahi, dropping the garment of tappa-cloth which 
encircled her waist, deftly replace it by a girdle of 
leaves, then her husband talcing a cocoanut shell, 
dipped it into the water and poured it over her 
shoulders again and again to wash away the dust 
which stained her clear, bronzed skin. Nude to the 
hips, her lissome figure glinted and shone like a 
polished statue of metal in the bright morning sun, as 
the water ran down over her back, bosom, and legs, 
while her shapely arms were raised as she held up her 
glossy mantle of hair. Her bath finished, she took 
the coconut shell from her husband's hand and 
motioned him to stoop ; but Talalu, with gentle, 
jesting rudeness, pushed her away, and filling the 
shell poured stream after stream of the cooling water 
over his own body. 

" That's the last time you'll ever do that for her," 
said Williams to himself, as his lustful eyes revelled in 
the beauty of the girl's figure. He got up, went 
inside and threw himself upon his couch. They 
would be in presently, he knew, to bring him his 
dinner of yams, fish, and birds' eggs. 

Nahi came first. In one hand she carried a platter 
of woven coconut leaves, upon which were a baked 
fish and some roasted breadfruit, in the other a young 
drinking coconut. Outside, Talalu, thrusting a pointed 
stake into the ground, began to husk some more nuts 
for the white man to drink. 

" Haeri niai " (" Come here "), his master called. 

The Tahitian's huge figure stood in the doorway, 
holding a half-husked coconut in his hand. 



204 THE MUTINEER 

" You needn't do any work to-day, Talalu," said 
Williams, with a growl of apparent good nature. 
" Tetihiti and Nihu are going out fishing for Kawin- 
tali (Quintal). You may go with them. Nahi can 
stay. Malama (Quintal's wife) will be here soon 
with her husband, and she can help Nahi to work 
upon the mat she is making for the floor." 

" Good," answered the unsuspecting Tahitian, with 
a pleased smile ; " 'tis well, oh Iron-worker, that the 
mat be soon finished. Then will Nahi and I carry 
up many baskets of fine pebbles, so that the mat may 
rest flat and even on the ground." 

'' May you be lucky in your fishing," called Nahi, 
as her husband, a minute later, passed the door, carry- 
ing his basket of fishing tackle. Then, the white 
man's meal being in readiness, she took up a fan and 
stood by him while he ate. 

For some minutes he ate his food in silence, then 
motioned to the woman to come nearer. She obeyed 
him with a timid glance, and a slight tremor quivered 
her bare shoulders for a moment. 

Suddenly Williams pushed his stool back from the 
table. Fixing his eyes on Nahi's expectant face, he 
said to her in English — 

" Nahi, my girl, I've always had a fancy for you, 
and I want you. You're going to be my new wife." 

With a look of wild terror she shrank back, her 
hands covering her face. The next instant the man 
seized her by the wrists. 

" Come, now, none of that, Nahi ! I'm going to 
have you for my wife, so don't be a fool." 



THE OPPRESSOR 205 

" Let me go," she pleaded in Tahitian ; " how can 
I be wife to thee ? Am I not wife to Talalu ? 'Tis 
but a poor jest to so frighten a weak woman." 

He laughed fiercely. " 'Tis no jest. Thou art 
my desire and I will have thee. As for thy hus- 
band " he made a contemptuous gesture. 

The woman's eyes blazed. She tore her hands from 
his grasp and faced him. "Thou coward ! He is 
better than thou art. He is of chief's blood — thou 
but a slave in thine own land," and with a sudden 
spring she bounded through the open doorway and 
ran swiftly in the direction of the other white men's 
houses. 

With panting bosom and gasping breath she reached 
Christian's house and darted inside. Mahina was 
seated on the matted floor crooning to her youngest 
child ; Christian, as usual, was away at his cave. 

Shaking with fear and anger, Nahi, generally so 
calm and gentle, flung herself at Mahina's feet and 
wept. 

" What is this, friend of my heart ? " asked Mahina, 
laying her infant down and drawing the girl's head 
upon her lap. She listened in grave silence until Nahi 
had finished her story, which ended in an earnest 
appeal. " Kirisiani," she said, " was strong and power- 
ful, and none of the white men dared face his anger. 
Surely he would not let the Iron-worker do this 
wrong." 

" The white men, I fear, care little what becomes 
of us of Tahiti now," said Mahina sadly ; " yet will 
we go to my husband and tell him thy trouble. Still 



2o6 THE MUTINEER 

do I fear that he will not heed thee ; and then indeed 
must thou go to the Iron-worker." 

Nahi wept silently ; when she ceased Mahina 
sought to comfort her, telling her that if the Iron- 
worker succeeded in taking her away from Talalu it 
would not be her fault — she would but yield to circum- 
stances. 

The woman turned her tear-stained face to Mahina 
in open wonder. 

" What ! Hast thou no other words of comfort for 
me than these ? Put thyself in my place. How can 
I do this wrong to the man I love — he who hath 
toiled and fought for me ? Wouldst thou so wrong 
thy husband as to listen to words of love from another 
man ? " 

" My husband ! " — Mahina laughed bitterly. 
" Little does he care if other men speak words of love 
to me. His heart is dead, and I am but a leaf in his 
path." 

" Nay," said Nahi gently, placing her hands on her 
friend's shoulder, " thy Kirisiani hath still a true heart 
for thee. He is not as these low-blooded dogs of 
sailors. He is an arii (a chief) of the same blood as 
Tuti ; and the sailors fear him. Come then, dear 
friend, and join thy voice with mine, so that he may 
save me from the Iron-worker, whom I hate and fear." 

" We will go, Nahi. Yet hope for nothing. 
Kirisiani's love for us, which was once so strong and 
hot, has grown cold. For me, who would give my life 
for his, he cares naught. But a little while ago, when 
my babe was born, he was kind to me and sat by my 



THE OPPRESSOR 207 

side here when the sun sank in the sea, and let his 
hand rest in mine." Her soft voice trembled in 
mournful pathos. "But again the black thoughts 
came to him, and he left me to return to his cave. 
He careth for me no longer. Yet will we go and 
pray him to protect thee from this evil man." 

In an hour the two women reached Christian's 
cave at the furthest extremity of the island. It 
opened from a high ridge of black, jagged, and 
almost inaccessible rocks. Near by was a tiny cas- 
cade, leaping noisily from ledge to ledge as it coursed 
towards the valley. 

From its situation the cave commanded an extensive 
view of the horizon round the whole island, and its 
occupant would see a sail long before any one else on 
Pitcairn could discern it. Approach was so difficult 
that, even if a large party succeeded in crossing the 
dizzy, narrow ledge of rocks connecting it with the 
mountain spur beneath. Christian could have shot 
every one of them before they were within a hundred 
feet of his refuge. 

As they passed through the little settlement on 
their mission, the two women called at the other 
houses, and told the story of Williams' design. Just 
as they reached the ridge they heard some one follow- 
ing them, and looking back saw the stalwart figure of 
Smith, who had come to help them in gaining 
Christian's assistance. Behind him came Young. 

As the sound of their voices ascended to the heights, 
they saw Christian emerge from the cave. He was 
dressed in shirt and trousers only, and his long black 



2o8 THE MUTINEER 

hair hung, loose and neglected, about his shoulders. 
For a few moments he regarded them without speak- 
ing ; then as Mahina in a timid voice said they desired 
to talk to him, he descended the ridge to meet them. 

"Why is this ?" he asked sullenly, with an angry 
look at each in turn ; " am I to have no peace, no 
rest ? Can I not live alone ? " 

Smith's honest, open face flushed deeply, but he 
said nothing ; the women should speak first, he 
thought, then he would try. 

Nahi, in a trembling voice, told her story, and 
sobbingly besought his help, and Mahina joined her 
in her earnest entreaties. 

He heard them through in moody silence, and 
turned to Smith. " From the time of our landing 
here, on this cursed rock, I have avoided all inter- 
ference with any of you. You have made slaves of 
these Tahitians, who are better than any white man on 
the island except yourself and Young. If they 
retaliate upon you, it will be your own faults. I 
don't say that you and Young are like the rest ; but 
yet you have permitted those scoundrels, McCoy, 
Quintal, Mills, and Williams to oppress these unfor- 
tunate people. Still, I will make one more effort for 
the common good, and try to dissuade this ruffian 
from stealing Talalu's wife." 

"Well spoken, Mr. Christian," said Smith. "By 
God ! sir, I'll not see Talalu wronged in this fashion if 
you'll help me ; and I dare swear Mr. Young will 
join us in clapping a stopper on his game." 

Accompanied by Nahi and Mahina, the three men 



THE OPPRESSOR 209 

returned to the settlement. As they walked, Young 
tried to speak to Mahina in a whisper, but with a 
nervous look she quickened her pace and caught up to 
her husband, who was in advance of them all. 



15 



CHAPTER XXIV 



THE QUARREL 



WHEN they reached the settlement, they found 
nearly all the little community assembled 
outside the large storehouse. 

Williams himself was not among them, neither was 
Talalu ; but Lunalio, a Raiatean girl, the wife of 
Martin, whispered to Nahi that he was coming. A 
look of joy overspread Nahi's face. She knew 
Williams' savage disposition and feared that Talalu 
had met with some treachery as he returned with his 
companions from fishing. And, indeed, Williams, 
with a loaded musket in his hand, had taken up his 
position behind a rock on the path leading up from 
the cliffs, intending to shoot the unsuspecting man as 
he ascended. But it so happened that Talalu, instead 
of taking the mountain track, came with his com- 
panions along the wider and more frequented path 
leading directly to the storehouse ; and the white 
man, hiding his musket among the rocks, had waited 
till the natives were out of sight, and then followed 
them. A quarter of an hour later he sauntered coolly 



THE QUARREL 211 

towards the assembled people, and the babble of excited 
tongues told him that the Tahitians were discuss- 
ing with the whites his intention to appropriate 
Nahi. 

A dead silence ensued the moment he made his 
appearance. Standing in front of the storehouse 
were the white men, most of them armed with 
muskets and cutlasses. Whether they were for or 
against him Williams could not for the moment tell, 
but he had no doubt of the feelings of the islanders, 
whose dark eyes blazed with hatred. A little apart 
from the rest of them stood Talalu, in his hand a 
keen-edged turtle-spear, and with a look of suppressed 
fury upon his face. 

Squaring his shoulders, and placing his hands jauntily 
upon his hips, Williams bade the white men a mocking 
good-day. 

" Quite a little gathering, I see. Ain't I got an 
invitation, or didn't you think my company good 
enough ? Are you talking about me ? " and he shot a 
fierce glance at Fletcher Christian, who regarded him 
with unmoved features. 

"We are talking about you, Williams," said 
Christian quietly, stepping out from the other white 
men. "What are you trying to do with this man's 
wife ? For the peace of our little community — for 
God's sake — think before you go further." 

" That's all very fine, Mr. Christian," he answered 
rudely, " but 'tis hard if I can't do as I choose with 
my own." 

Christian looked at him contemptuously. " Your 



212 THE MUTINEER 

own ! What right have you to speak of this woman 
Nahi as yours ? " 

" Who are you to question my right ? You are 
not an officer of the 'Bounty now." 

Christian's face paled at the insulting words, but he 
restrained himself. 

" I do not ask you as a right, Williams, but as a 
favour, not to attempt this thing. I am sure every 
man but yourself sees that you will rue it if you do." 

"That is what I told him long ago," broke in 
Quintal, who, rude and overbearing as he was in some 
respects to the Tahitians, was never tyrannical, and 
often tried to check Williams' brutality. 

"I am glad to hear you say this. Quintal," said 
Christian. " Williams does not seem to know what 
it is he contemplates." His eye fell upon the stalwart 
figure of Talalu, who with gleaming eyes and clenched 
hands was looking at the persecutor of his wife. 

" Come here, Talalu," said Christian. 

The islander looked at him for a moment ; then 
thrusting the barbed point of his turtle-spear into the 
ground, he walked slowly over to the white man. 

" What is it thou wouldst say to me, Kirisiani ? " 
he asked in deep, guttural tones, which quivered with 
passion. 

"This," and Fletcher Christian's voice rang out 
loud and clear, as he pointed contemptuously to 
Williams — " this do I say. This Williams the Iron- 
worker is but a poor, uncultured slave, who knows 
naught that is good, and the evil in his heart hath 
killed all knowledge of what is right and just. I pray 



THE QUARREL 213 

thee have patience with him, and we will try to teach 
him better." 

" What the hell do you mean ? " asked Wiliams 
savagely, who understood Tahitian sufficiently well to 
know what Christian had said. " What sort of talk 
is this ? Do you mean to tell this cursed, naked 
savage that he is a better man than I am ? " 

" Better than you ! By heavens, you ruffian, you 
are a thousand times more of a savaffe than he ? And 
I, who am to blame for bringing such men as him 
from their homes and exposing them to the danger of 
contact with such sweepings of the hulks as you are, 
will take care you do him or his countrymen no more 
wrong than you have done already." 

" No, no, Mr. Christian, don't talk like that," said 
Brown. " Williams is as good a man as any of us, 
and I don't see why you should aggravate him by such 
words." 

" Damn such talk, I say," said Mills insolently, 
walking apart from the others and standing beside 
Williams, "if the man wants the woman, let him 
have her. He ain't got a wife, and you can't expect 
a white man to go without one when one can be had 
for the taking." 

Talalu turned upon him. " I will kill him or any 
other man who tries to take my wife from me," he 
muttered with set lips. 

"None of that, my fine fellow," said Brown in 
English. " Take care what you say about killing 
people. You will find that we can do some killing if 
we are put to it." 



214 THE MUTINEER 

Williams looked at Christian with rage and hatred 
in his face. " What do you think of it now, Mr. 
Christian ? Am I to do as I like and as my ship- 
mates want me to, or are you going to join with these 
damned savages and try to stop me ? " 

" I'll tell you plainly what I will do, Williams. I 
will protect these people at the hazard of my life ; and 
though I stand alone I will prevent this outrage, even 
if I fight the whole lot of you." 

" He is mad to say this," whispered Edward Young 
to Mahina, as he pressed her hand, " but," and he gave 
her a meaning look, "for your sake, Mahina, I will 
stand by him." Then he stepped out and stood beside 
her husband, and said — 

" You'll not stand alone, Mr. Christian, while I am 
here. While I don't altogether agree with you, I 
don't believe in Williams taking the woman against 
her will. Let us come to some arrangement about 
her." 

"I, too, am with you, sir! " cried Smith. 

"And I ! " "And I! " echoed Quintal and McCoy. 

" Thank you, my lads," said Christian ; " I knew 
there were some among us with a sense of justice." 

Williams looked at the four men one after another 
and folded his brawny arms across his tattooed chest. 

" All right," he sneered ; " there's not going to be 
any fighting over this. But you can make certain of 
one thing. If you won't give me my own way in 
this matter you may go to hell, the whole lot of you, 
before I'll sweat at the bounty's forge making tools 
for these cursed savages to till your ground. And yet, 



THE QUARREL 215 

by God ! rU get my own way all the same in the 
end ! " 

Then he walked away towards his house. 

" Trouble will come of this, mark my words, Mr. 
Christian," said Brown. "'Tis a pity you should in- 
interfere with the man. You'll find he'll have the 
woman in spite of you, never fear." 

"Then his life will pay the penalty," answered 
Christian fiercely. " You do not seem to understand, 
Brown, that while a single girl may be taken by force 
sometimes the marriage-tie among the Tahitians is 
held as sacred as among civilised people. But I think 
Talalu will take care of his wife, and there are three 
or four men who will help him to do so." 

Then, with a few words of farewell to the islanders 
who thronged around him with protestations of grati- 
tude, he turned quickly away with Mahina by his 
side. 

Before they had gone a hundred yards they heard 
some one running after them, and Nahi, flinging her- 
self on the ground before Christian, clasped her arms 
around his knees and kissed his feet, wetting them 
with tears of gratitude. 

That night Williams cooked and ate his supper 
alone, for Talalu and Nahi had taken shelter in the 
house of Tairoa-Maina, the Tubuaian chief. 



CHAPTER XXV 



THE REVOLT OF TALALU 



FOR three days nothing happened. The people 
of Pitcairn, white and brown, went about their 
daily occupations as usual, but there was a suppressed 
excitement and an ominous calmness that augured ill 
for the future, and the rift between the two parties — 
those who sided with Christian, and those who sup- 
ported Williams — widened slowly but surely. 

Ever since the day of the quarrel the islanders had 
been sulky and suspicious in their manner to all the 
white men except Christian and Smith. Young, 
although openly declared as Christian's taio or friend, 
they regarded with distrust, even though Alrema, 
doubtful as she was beginning to feel of her husband's 
loyalty to herself, strove to persuade them of his good- 
will towards them. 

To them Christian had always been a fair and j ust 

man, refusing to recognise any distinction between 

them and his white comrades. They would have 

fought for and followed him to the death had occasion 

arisen for the sacrifice. 

Tairoa-Maina and the other Tubuaians, being un- 
216 



THE REVOLT OF TALALU 217 

married, lived by themselves in a separate house, and 
thither went Talalu and his gentle wife for refuge for 
the time being from the savage Williams. Fearing to 
remain much longer near his former master, Talalu 
determined to build himself a new house among the 
mountains in a secluded little valley about half a mile 
lower down than Christian's cave. Every morning, 
axe on shoulder, accompanied by Nahi, he set out to 
work. 

" I will live like Kirisiani," he said, when his 
countrymen asked him why he desired to leave them ; 
" even as he lives so will I. These white men are bad 
masters ; no longer will I work for them like a slave." 

On the fourth morning after the quarrel, Williams 
rose from his bunk and began to make preparations 
for his breakfast. The fertility of the island was such 
that this gave him little labour. In his house were 
supplies of breadfruit, yams, and bananas, and overhead 
on the cross-beams hung strings of dried fish. In 
addition to these he had his share of the stores from 
the ^Bounty^ such as wine, biscuit, rice, and salted pork, 
but his extravagance had left him but little of the meat, 
and he uttered a savage curse when on lifting the little 
two-gallon wine keg he found it empty. To procure 
more meant a walk to the storehouse, some distance 
away ; and before he could get the wine he would have 
to ask Quintal, who, by common consent, was in 
charge of all the stores that remained. He had always 
been accustomed to drink wine with his food, and the 
loss of it annoyed him. 

" If that cursed Talalu had been here," he thought. 



2i8 THE MUTINEER 

" this wouldn't have happened. What right had the 
fellow to clear out, and take his wife with him too ? 
And the breadfruit and yams were cold. If Nahi were 
here they would have been heated for him. Curse 
them both, the damned copper-hided savages." 

As he ate he worked himself into a state of savage 
fury. What right had that fellow to have such a hand- 
some woman as Nahi for his wife ? If he were out 
of the way she wouldn't make such a fuss ; would no 
doubt be proud to become the wife of a white man. 
Damn that fine-talking fellow, Christian ! Only for 
him the thing would have been done. Brown and 
Mills would have stood by if Talalu made a noise 
about his wife being taken. By God ! he'd stand it 
no longer. He'd bring the pair of them back to 
work at once. 

His eye caught his musket, hanging on brackets 
over his bunk. He took it down, loaded it, and then 
walked rapidly away in the direction of the house 
occupied by Talalu and his wife. 

With murder in his heart he reached the dwelling 
of Tairoa-Maina. Neither the chief nor his two 
countrymen were visible, but Talalu and Nahi were 
at work in the garden at the back. They were digging 
yams, and the white man watched them in sullen 
silence for a few minutes. Every movement of the 
woman's graceful figure angered him against her hus- 
band. What was he ? A slave ; a cursed savage. A 
man who had no right to possess a beautiful wife. He 
w^ould not only have the woman, but make the man 
work for him as well. 



THE REVOLT OF TALALU 219 

Creeping along the wall of coral stones that en- 
closed the garden, he reached a spot not twenty yards 
from them. Then he stood up and covered the man 
with his musket. 

" Come back with me, you two," he called fiercely, 
in Tahitian ; " if you don't come outside at once, I'll 
kill the pair of you." 

Nahi, with heart full of love, threw herself before 
her husband, but Talalu said something to her in 
a low voice, and she turned and faced the white 
man. 

" Even as thou wilt, master," replied Talalu quietly, 
and taking Nahi's hand he came outside the wall. 

With his gun over his shoulder the white man 
followed them, triumphantly smiling to himself at 
this proof of his power of command. 

Very quietly they walked before him, till they 
reached his house, then entered it, and Nahi seated 
herself upon the matted floor. 

Williams stood in the doorway for a moment, 
regarding them with a smile of victory. He intended 
to let them feel their position at once. 

"I've a damned good mind to give you a lacing. 
Mister Talalu," he said in English, " but I'll put it 
off for a bit and give you another chance. But I 
want something to eat. You, Nahi, go to Kawintali 
and ask him for some rice and wine and salted meat ; 
and you, Talalu " 

He never spoke again. The Tahitian sprang upon 
him like a tiger, seized his throat with both hands, and 
squeezing his windpipe, forced him to the ground. 



220 THE MUTINEER 

For a minute they struggled fiercely, but the white 
man, though strong and active, was but as a child in 
the giant's grasp. They swayed to and fro a little, 
and then Williams lay upon the ground with the 
brown man's knee upon his chest, making feeble 
efforts to free himself from the grasp of death. 

Presently he ceased to struggle, and was only con- 
scious enough to know that all hope was gone and 
his time was come. One glance from his bloodshot 
eyes into the death-dealing face of the man above him 
told him that. 

For a little while the Tahitian relaxed his hold. 
Beside him, her eyes dilated with triumphant hatred, 
Nahi bent over the prostrate figure, all the bitterness 
of the past reflected in her dark face. She had watched 
the struggle with a sense of victory. Who in the old 
days at Matavai could vie with Talalu in wrestling ? 
And when she saw the huge form of her husband bear 
the slighter figure of their joint oppressor to the earth, 
she laughed. 

With the foam of the agony of death flecking his 
lips, and breathing in awful, fitful gasps, Williams lay 
before them, one hand of Talalu still gripping his 
throat. The musket lay upon the floor beside the 
men. WiUiams had carried it at full cock, and the 
priming had been spilt when he dropped it to meet 
the onslaught of Talalu. 

Still keeping his hand upon the sailor's throat Talalu 
turned to his wife. 

" Take thou the powder horn and prime the gun," 
he said. 



THE REVOLT OF TALALU 221 

She took the horn from the peg upon which it hung 
and did as he told her. 

" Now put the end of the gun to this dog's 
temple." 

She dropped upon one knee and pressed the muzzle 
of the gun to Williams's dark forehead. 

" Now pull the little piece of iron," said Talalu, 
"and let his black soul depart unto the land of evil 
spirits." 

There was a flash and the heavy musket-ball dashed 
out the wretched man's brains, ploughed through the 
matted floor, and scattered the coral pebbles in a white 
shower against the furthest side of the house. Then 
Talalu, with bloodied right hand, rose to his feet and 
stood regarding the body of his enemy. 

Picking up the lifeless form of Williams, the Tahi- 
tian motioned to his wife to follow, and walked 
towards the clifi^s to the same place where, a few 
months before, he had seen the wife of the dead 
man fall. 

Standing on the jagged cliff edge, he looked down. 
Far below him lay the rough, pebbly beach upon which 
Faito had fallen and dyed the stones with her blood. 
Then he raised the white man high in his mighty arms 
and cast him over with a bitter curse. 

"Lie there, thou who slew thy wife with cruel 
words, and would have stolen mine," he cried, as he 
dashed the body upon the stones. 

He looked down a while longer at his dead enemy, 
and then, taking Nahi's hand in his own, turned 
homewards. 



CHAPTER XXVI 



NAHI S MESSAGE 



THE report of the gun which killed Talalu's 
oppressor was heard by all who happened to be 
in their houses at the time. Each thought it was but 
a shot fired at some ocean bird winging its way sea- 
ward from one of the many islands rookeries, and no 
one imagined that it was the beginning of a fatal 
and bloody epoch in the history of their island 
home. 

But Talalu, as he returned with his wife by his 
side, knew that his deed would bring forth great 
things in the near future, and set himself to prepare 
for whatever might happen. 

Half-way between the cliffs and his own dwelling, 
he stopped and spoke to Nahi. 

" Hasten, oh pearl of my heart, to the houses of 
all our countrymen and to that of Tairoa-Maina the 
Tubuaian, and bid them come to me. And this shalt 
thou say to them : * Talalu sendeth greeting and saith 
that " The sun hath risen a bloody red ; and the white 
men will seek for revenge for what hath been done." 



NAHI'S MESSAGE 223 

Talalu saith also "The liand to the club, for death 
Cometh swiftly and suddenly to men unprepared."'" 

" Oh husband with the strong hand and brave 
heart, why should'st thou fear ? The white men are 
just, and will not harm thee for killing the Iron-worker, 
that man of evil heart and cruel will. If I give 
this message of thine, will not they think that all the 
men of our race are plotting to slay them P " 

The giaiit Tahitian placed his bloodstained hand 
upon his wife's shoulder. " Do as I bid thee. I 
tell thee the white men will not forgive me the death 
of the Iron-worker. And it is well that we be 
prepared for their wrath." 

" Nay," pleaded Nahi, "surely Kirisiani and Etuati 
and Simetii are our friends." 

"It may be so," answered Talalu bitterly. "Who 
can tell ? Hast thou not seen that they have no faith 
in each other ? Dost thou not know that Etuati, 
whom I once thought the true taio of Kirisiani, 
hath spoken words of love to Mahina his wife ? " 

" That is but the custom of our country." 2 

Talalu interrupted — " Thou dost not know, Nahi, 
that this our custom of taio is held in abhorrence by 
men of chiefs rank and blood in Peretane, such as 
Etuati and Kirisiani. Often hath Kirisiani told me, 
when speaking of the customs of white men, that for 
a man to cast the eye of desire upon the wife of his 
friend is counted shame." 

» Smith. 

- Of the privileges extended by the Tahitian female to the taio or 
sworn friend of the husband or male relative the less said the better. 



224 THE MUTINEER 

She bent her head in mute obedience to her husband's 
will. Surely Talalu her husband, who was for ever 
talking to the white men of the customs of their 
country, knew what was right. 

So she sped quickly away, first to the house of 
I Tairoa-Maina, and there told the Tubuaians of 

Williams' death and gave her husband's message. 

Without waiting to be questioned, she added — 
" And see, oh men of Tubuai, that ye bring with ye 
guns and powder and lead ; for even as my husband 
sayeth the sun hath risen a bloody red." 

Then leaving the wondering and excited Tu- 
buaians she went to the hut of the Tahitians and gave 
the same warning. As she passed from house to house 
the wives of the white men saw her and sought to 
question her, but she evaded them and disappeared 
among the boscage of the mountain forest towards the 
dwelling of Mahina and her husband. 

Through the open doorway of the house she saw 
the figures of Alrema and Mahina. They were 
seated together preparing their morning meal, and 
Christian's two children played beside them. 

Panting with excitement, Nahi threw herself upon 
the couch at the further end of the room and asked 
for a drink. Alrema opened a young coconut and 
and brought it to her. 

" Why dost thou breathe so hard, my friend ? " 
she said with a laugh. " Drink and then come eat 
with us." 

Nahi drank, but refused to eat. " 'Tis well that I 
have met thee here, Alrema." 



NAHI'S MESSAGE 225 

Something in her face made them rise quickly and 
asked what brought her. 

She laughed nervously. " Listen thou, Alrema, wife 
of Etuati, and thou Mahina, wife of Kirisiani the 
chief. My husband hath slain the Iron-worker." 

Mahina, with a cry of fear, clasped her infant in 
her arms. 

"Aye, he slew him with his own gun, because he 
sought to take me. And when the fire leapt from 
the mouth of the gun, and the lead dashed out his 
brains, Talalu took up his body and carried it upon 
his shoulders to the cliffs and cast it upon the stones 
where Faito died. And this message hath my 
husband sent to the men of Tahiti and Tubuai 
* The sun hath risen a bloody red ; be prepared.' " 

The two others exchanged a quick responsive 
glance of alarm, but Nahi, excited as she was, did 
not notice it. 

" But thou must not tell Tahinia, nor Malama, nor 
Lunalio, nor any of the women who have white 
husbands. Even of thee, friends of my heart, was I 
frightened, but I remembered that thy husbands have 
ever been of kind hearts to us of Tahiti. Did not 
thine, Alrema, and thine, Mahina, and the husband of 
Terere seek to save me from the dog whom my 
husband hath slain ? And for that shall no harm 
come to them or to thee." 

Mahina, with a terrified glance at the exultant face 

of Nahi, turned appealingly to Alrema. What should 

she do to warn Christian ? He was in his cave. 

Perhaps in his lonely morning walk along the cliffs he 

16 



226 THE MUTINEER 

might meet some of her countrymen who, never 
thinking of all that he had done for their welfare, 
might shoot or spear him. 

Fearful for their husbands, Mahina and Alrema saw 
the lithe figure of Nahi glide away into the darkness 
from Christain's lonely dwelling. Despite the know- 
ledge that Young was wavering in his loyalty to her, 
his wife still loved him passionately, and never felt 
anything but friendship for Mahina ; so, urging her to 
go to Christian and warn him of the impending 
trouble, she set out in search of Young, who had 
gone fishing for the night. And Mahina, leading 
one child by the hand and pressing the other to her 
bosom, walked quickly along the rocky path towards 
the cave. 

A strange silence already seemed to deaden the clear 
morning air. Soon after the first rosy flush of dawn 
had changed the grey of the wooded mountain sides to a 
living green, Matthew Quintal, gun in hand, came 
along the path from his house towards the cliffs, 
wondering why he had met none of the brown men 
on their way to their work in the white men's 
gardens. He was going towards a great toa tree 
which grew in a little valley near Martin's house, 
where at early morning many frigate birds roosted, 
for he had promised Malama to shoot some for her, 
and wanted Isaac Martin to join him. 

But ere he came in sight of the shipmate's house 
Martin met him. His thin, sallow face wore an 
anxious look, and to Quintal's surprise he carried a 
pistol and cutlass as well as a musket. 



NAHI'S MESSAGE 227 

" I was going to look for you, Mat," he said ; 
" there is something in the wind. One of the Tahiti 
men was here a little while ago telling my wife that 
Talalu had killed Jack Williams. Didn't you know 
it ? " 

" No ! " replied Quintal with a startled exclamation 
and look of alarm. " What had we better do ? " 

" Let us go and tell the others. There's going to 
be fighting, I can see. Every one of those fellows 
thinks a lot of Talalu, and as far as I can make out 
only we two know that Williams is dead. We'll 
find them all working at Young's." 



CHAPTER XXVII 



ALREMA S SONG 



YOUNG was building a new storehouse upon 
his ground, and thither went the two men. As 
soon as they emerged from the forest path upon 
Young's clearing they could see him with Smith and 
Brown at work. 

None of the Tahitians had appeared to assist them, 
and the three men were discussing the cause of their 
absence. Young, who had been fishing in the 'Bounty's 
boat all night off the south end of the island, was in a 
bad temper. He had been obliged to land at an 
inconvenient spot through the sea rising suddenly, 
and on returning home just after daylight found that 
Alrema was away. Such an unusual occurrence 
mystified and irritated him ; for how could he know 
that the loving girl had waited at the usual landing- 
place in Bounty Bay till past daylight, and then 
returned home, unhappy and anxious at the absence 
of her husband ? 

But as Quintal and Martin came walking quickly 
along towards Young and his companions, Alrema 



228 



ALREMA'S SONG 229 

appeared on the path, far in advance of them. She 
was followed closely by the wives of two of the 
Tahitians, who were plainly watching her move- 
ments. 

" Beware, Alrema," said one of them, " we know 
why thou hast come here. Talalu hath done no 
wrong, and our husbands will stand by him if it 
Cometh to the shedding of blood." 

*' Aye," fiercely said the other, a short, powerful 
woman, whose long hair, wetted with the morning 
dew that had fallen on her head as she came through 
the narrow forest path, hung black and lustreless 
upon her brown, naked shoulders, " and I, Toaa, will 
strike this knife into thy heart if thou goest nearer to 
the white ^men," and she showed Alrema a short 
broad-bladed dagger. 

" Ye fools," answered Alrema contemptuously, 
" can I not labour in my husband's garden without 
listening to thy silly threats ? What doth it concern 
me that Talalu hath killed the Iron-worker ? Stay me 
not, I tell thee. I have but come to dig yams for our 
morning meal." 

Without further words she entered the walled 
enclosure, apparently taking no heed of the three 
white men who were now talking earnestly together. 
She meant to tell them of their danger, but how to do 
so with the two women close beside her she knew not. 

" Here, you two, come and help Alrema to dig 
yams," called out Young angrily in English to the 
other women . " I'll make some of you work for me 
to-day." 



230 THE MUTINEER 

Fearing to disobey, they silently followed Alrema, 
and began to assist her in her labours ; and as they 
worked Alrema sang. Sweet, clear, and loud her 
voice rang out in the morning air, and the white men 
looked at one another in surprise, for at the end of the 
first verse she added in English another line. 

" Listen to my singing, white men." 

The two Tahitian women near her looked up 
suspiciously. Unlike Alrema, who now spoke the 
white men's language with perfect fluency, they 
barely understood a dozen words of English. Still 
they kept close and Toaa watched Young's wife 
narrowly. With apparent composure she went on 
with her song — one of the old Tahitian love songs, 
half recitative but full of melody, and presently 
noticed that Young and the other men had drawn 
nearer, and were listening, though with apparent un- 
concern . 

The second verse told how a girl of Raiatea, 
pursuing a phantom lover, journeyed over sea and land 
moon after moon, till she sank faint and dying under 
a grove of coconut trees on the beach of an un- 
known land, whither her quest had led her. 



" So she lay there faint and dying ; 
Bloodied were her cinnet sandals 
With her journey long and weary ; 
And her eyes were raised above her 
At the young nuts, thick in clusters. 
Growing close, yet far beyond her ; 
For her hands, too weak to reach them, 
Bruised and bleeding 
Lay upon her aching bosom." 



ALREMA'S SONG 231 

With a swift glance at the white men she changed 
into English. 

"Listen, white men, to my singing ; 
Dead is Williams, Iron-worker ; 
He was killed at early morning. 
Know you not the man who slew him ? " 

" By God ! Do you hear that ? " said Young. 

" Sh ! wait a bit, she'll tell us more presently," 
whispered Smith ; "can't you see she's afraid of the 
other women ? " 

Again Alrema's bird-like notes went back into 
Tahitian. Striking her spade into the ground as she 
sang — 

" And the heavens swirled about her, 
With her pain, and thirst, and hunger ; 
But her heart kept calling, calling, 
For the lover who had mocked her." 

She raised the end of a yam from the rich black 
soil, turned round and placed it in a basket behind 
her ; then her voice, quivering yet strong, took up 
in English the thread of warning to the listening 
white men. 

" Do you hear me ? Understand me ? 
Go away and get your muskets ; 
All the brown men now are arming, 
Arming so that they may kill you ; 
Go away and warn the others." 

" Thou art a vain fool," said the woman Toaa to 
her in a tone of contempt; "dost thou think to 
charm the ears of our masters with thy croaking 
voice ? " 



232 THE MUTINEER 

Alrema tried to laugh good-naturedly, and again 
went on with the Tahitian love-song. The women, 
however, she feared suspected her, and she sang the 
next verse quickly, while Young, Brown, and Smith 
with bated breath listened for her next words in 
English. 

" See these women working with me, 
They suspect me, they will kill me, 
If they know I give you warning. 
Go away and tell the others, 
Leave me here to follow quickly." 

"By heavens, that's enough ! " whispered Young to 
his companions. " Let us get away as quickly as 
possible. My wife's warning is clear enough. We 
must go and tell the others." 

"Here's Quintal and Martin coming down the 
ridge now," said Brown. "They seem to know 
what's up, too." 

"Go and meet them," replied Young hurriedly, 
" and tell them to wait till Smith and I come. We 
must not let these women know that we have any 
suspicion of what is wrong ; listen, do you hear 
that ? " 

Alrema was singing again in English, and telling 
them she was sure the two women had been sent to 
get powder and ball from Williams' house. 

" Off you go. Brown, but don't walk too quickly. 
Tell Quintal and Martin that Smith and 1 will be 
with them in a minute or two. Then slip through 
the breadfruit grove to Williams' house, and get all 
his ammunition." 



ALREMA'S SONG 233 

Presently Alrema saw with satisfaction that Brown 
was sauntering away, and as soon as he was out ot 
sight Young and Smith came over to where the 
women were working. 

" We are going to McCoy's house," said he, 
addressing Ah'ema quietly ; "you can stay here and 
cook us some yams." Then with sudden severity he 
turned to Toaa and the other woman. "As for you 
two, stay here and dig till we return, or 'twill be 
worse for your backs." 

They gave him sullen glances in reply and muttered 
acquiescence. Smith and Young left the garden and 
went to join Quintal and Martin, but the moment 
they were out of the women's sight they ran, and 
soon reached the other white men. 

For some minutes the three women worked on in 
silence. Alrema picked up her basket of yams, and 
was moving towards the house when Toaa called her 
back. 

" Whither goest thou ? " she asked. 

"Oh fool and dull of hearing," Alrema replied 
coolly. " Didst you not hear my husband tell me to 
cook these yams ? I haste to do his bidding." 

" Thou liest," said Toaa fiercely ; " thou hast told 
him something in thy cunning song," and she sprang 
at her, knife in hand. 

But Alrema, by an agile movement, escaped the 
savage thrust, and, seeing that it was now too late for 
concealment, leapt over the low stone wall of the 
garden and fled swiftly after her husband. 

With Young leading the way, the three white men 



234 THE MUTINEER 

ran quickly towards the houses of the other Europeans. 
In a few minutes they were overtaken by Brown, who 
reported that Williams' house was in the possession of 
Talalu and his friends, and consequently he had not 
dared attempt to enter it. By the time they reached 
the summit of the rise overlooking the rest of the 
houses, they were joined by Alrema, who had cleverly 
returned unobserved to her husband's house, fearing 
that Young had not secured all the arms there. This, 
however, he had done. 

" Where is Christian ? " asked Young, as they 
gained the top of the hill and stopped to draw breath 
for a moment. 

"In his cave," answered Martin, "ibut it's no use 
waiting for him. Alrema says that Mahina has gone 
to call him. He'll be with us presently. What are 
we to do ? " 

There was a hurried consultation, and it was quickly 
resolved that Talalu must be taken prisoner and 
punished. 

As they talked they were joined by McCoy, 
Christian, and Mahina. Christian unconsciously 
assumed the leadership, and after deciding upon their 
plan of action they proceeded in a body towards 
Williams' house, determined at all risks to quell the 
revolt which was threatening their safety. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
" HIS heart's desire " 

IN less than half an hour the white men reached 
the low stone wall enclosing Williams' house and 
garden, and saw that the door of his dwelling was 
closed ; but the two unglazed windows were opened, 
and from them half a dozen brown, excited faces 
peered out upon the Europeans. Each native held a 
musket at full cock, along the barrel of which his eye 
glanced. 

Suddenly Christian stopped, and help up his hand to 
the white men who followed him. Then grounding 
his musket he spoke. 

" I have come with you, because on the spur of the 
moment I thought it my duty to make common 
cause with men of my own colour against a common 
danger. I forgot that this man Williams deserved his 
fate. He was a thorough-paced scoundrel, and has 
met, I have no doubt, his just deserts. Therefore, I 
will take no part in this aflfeir ; settle it yourselves. 
I leave it to you to consider, before you harm Talalu, 
235 



236 THE MUTINEER 

what you may bring upon yourselves by becoming his 
murderers." 

Walking away from his surprised and angry fellow- 
countrymen, he sat down quietly upon the wall and 
waited to see what would happen. 

" Very well," said Edward Young contemptuously, 
" if you won't stand by us in a matter like this we 
must do without you. For the sake of my wife and 
child I will not let this fellow escape punishment. 
You, it is easy to see, care naught for yours," and he 
glanced quickly at Mahina, who stood near. 

"Right, Mr. Young," said Quintal ; "you lead us 
and we'll follow." 

Telling the rest of the white men to stand back. 
Young advanced close to the house and called to 
Talalu that he wished to speak to him. 

The heavy wooden door swung open, and the 
gigantic figure of the Tahitian faced the white man. 
He was stripped to the waist and held a musket in his 
hand, but, seeing that Young's piece lay on the ground, 
he put his down also. 

" What is it that ye seek, Etuati ? " he asked quietly. 

"We come to seek thee ; thou hast killed the Iron- 
worker, and we will see justice done. No one, white 
or brown, must slay his fellow-man and be allowed to 
escape," answered Young quickly. 

" He sought to rob me of my wife. Am I a slave 
to suffer such a wrong as that ? " 

" Let us shoot the beggar ! " called out Martin and 
Brown together, and Mills, too, urged Young to stand 
aside and let them end the matter at once. 



i 



"HIS HEART'S DESIRE" 237 

But Young begged them to have patience. He 
wished to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. 

Talalu listened quietly, his eyes fixed upon Christian, 
who sat with his chin upon his hand, regarding the 
two parties with an aspect of utter indifference. 

" Listen," said the Tahitian to Young, " so that 
there may be peace between the white men and the 
brown, I swear by the god of the white men, and by 
the god Oro, to do in this matter as Kirisiani wills. 
I know that he is a just man and will do no wrong 
either to me or to thee." 

" Be it so," answered Young, " speak to him and 
tell him this ; for but a little time ago he told me he 
cared naught for any of us." 

He fell back to the white men, and told them of 
the Tahitian's proposition. To it they all consented, 
feeling sure that, however much Christian kept him- 
self aloof from them, he would never actually take 
sides against them with the islanders. 

"Very well," said Christian coldly, when Young 
asked him to speak to Talalu. " As I have said, I 
will take no side, but if Talalu wants my opinion I 
will give it. Whether he acts upon it or not will not 
trouble me." He walked through the little gateway 
up the path to the door of the house, but half way he 
stopped ; for the big Tahitian with hands outstretched 
advanced towards him. 

" Thou art a just man, Kirisiani," he said, "as just 
as Tuti, and I, Talalu, son of Totaro, have no fear of 
thee. This do I say — mine was the hand that slew 
the Iron-worker ; and thou art a just man, and will 



238 THE MUTINEER 

not let these thy countrymen kill me because I did 
that which was right." 

For a moment or two Christian hesitated, and then 
with a bitter laugh replied in a cold voice — "Thou 
foolish man, dost thou think my countrymen care for 
thy wrongs ? Thou hast killed their comrade — a 
man who was useful to them because of his skill. 
Thou art but a savage ; thy skin is brown, theirs is 
white ; and in their eyes he of the brown skin hath 
neither rights or wrongs. Therefore, oh man with 
the brown skin, who hast no heart to feel, and no soul 
to suffer, lay down thy weapon and feel the justice of 
these thy masters." 

The mocking bitterness and contempt which rang 
through his voice cut the faithful Talalu to the 
heart. 

"Is this thy justice, Kirisiani ? Thou, the husband 
of Mahina ! Thou, for whom we of the brown skins 
and loving hearts would lay down our lives ! Thou 
of whom Nahi my wife said, when I cast the Iron- 
worker over the cliffs, * Kirisiani is thy friend and will 
stand to thee ! ' Hast thou no other answer for me 
but this ? " 

^' Talk to me no more," Christian replied passion- 
ately ; " I care neither for thee, nor for these white 
men, nor for myself. Do as thou wilt — it matters 
not to me ; so that none of ye trouble me, I care not. 
Farewell," and with angry impatience he turned away 
and was soon lost to view. Mahina, with her infant 
in her arms, quickly followed, endeavouring to over- 
take him. 



"HIS HEART'S DESIRE" 239 

Then Talalu, with his hands clasped together and 
downcast head, returned to the house. 

"Give me my gun," he said sadly, to Tairoa-Maina. 

Holding the weapon up over his head, he turned to 
Young, who had by this time with the help of Smith 
succeeded in quieting the most turbulent of his 
comrades. 

Throwing his musket at Young's feet the gigantic 
Tahitian spoke — 

" Do with me as it seems best to thee. I swore by 
Oro my god that Kirisiani should decide between us. 
But his heart has turned to stone. Do with me as 
you will." 

Something in the despairing accents of Talalu's 
voice touched even the callous heart of Young, and 
he could not help admiring the loyalty to his word 
which made the Tahitian, savage as he was, surrender 
so quietly. 

" This is well," he said, picking up the man's 
musket from the sward. " Come with me ; I promise 
that no harm shall befall thee till this thing that thou 
hast done hath been well considered. But say this to 
thy friends in the house — if before the sun sets they 
do not lay down their arms and bring them to my 
house, I will kill thee with my own hands." 

" Tell them that thyself," said the Tahitian proudly ; 
" how can I, a man, say this to them ? " 

Advancing to the house Young gave the natives his 
warning, but ere one of them could reply Talalu 
sprang to his side with a haughty gesture. 

" Heed him not, my friends. The words are his, 



240 THE MUTINEER 

not mine. I, Talalu, give my life because of the 
oath I swore to Kirisiani, who hath deserted me. 
Am I a dog to buy my life from these white men 
because of thy friendship for me, oh men of Tahiti 
and Tubuai ? If I die, do thou, Tairoa-Maina, friend 
of my heart, take Nahi for thy wife." 

The door was shut again with a cry of defiance, 
and again the musket barrels protruded through the 
windows. 

" Leave them alone for the present," commanded 
Young ; and with their prisoner walking calmly before* 
them, the white men marched away. 

^ ^ ¥^ 7^ ¥^ 

Clasping her child to her bosom, Mahina followed 
her husband as quickly as her strength would permit. 
The events of the past few days had exhausted her in 
mind and body, and she began to fear her husband's 
morbid behaviour was turning into actual madness. 
Thrice as she caught sight of him in the rough ascent 
of the rocky path had she called his name and asked 
him to stop, but he seemed to take no heed. At last 
when she gained the summit of the ridge which over- 
looked the valley wherein his house stood, she saw 
him standing, his gaunt figure silhouetted against the 
sky-line, with folded arms, and head sunk upon his 
chest. As she came near he seemed to be asleep, for 
he made no sign to show he knew of her presence. 

Setting the sleeping child gently down upon a 
mossy cleft in the rock, she stepped softly to him and 
touched his arm. 

"Kirisiani," she said, panting from the long and 



"HIS HEART'S DESIRE" 241 

hurried walk, " I pray thee, come home to thy house 
to-night. I fear to be alone, so far from thee." 

With a savage oath, and the light of madness 
gleaming in his eyes, he thrust her rudely away. 

With a despairing, heart-broken cry she staggered 
and fell upon the jagged rocks, and Christian, without 
even looking behind, resumed his journey to his cave. 

An hour later, when Mahina awoke to the con- 
sciousness of her misery, she was alone in her husband's 
house with her head pillowed against Edward Young's 
bosom, whilst he kissed her again and again. 

" Thou art my heart's desire," he said. 



>7 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE TONGUE OF A WOMAN 

DARKNESS fell on the lonely island, and the 
muffled roar of the breakers beating against 
the cliffs of Afita was the only sound that disturbed 
the silence of the night. 

In the big living-room of Edward Young's house 
Talalu sat moodily upon a mat in one corner, won- 
dering what had become of Nahi. His captors, at 
Young's request, had not bound their prisoner, but 
had left Alrema on guard over him with a loaded 
musket and pistol. 

" Where was Nahi ? " he wondered. " Why was 

she, the faithful, loving wife, not with him now ? " 

Alrema, by Young's direction, had given him food, 

but it lay beside him untasted. Young himself was 

absent ; for soon after bringing Talalu to the house 

he had quietly left again. Alrema sat at the open 

doorway, her pale, handsome face wearing a disturbed 

expression. Where was her husband ? Why was he 

so eager to get away at such a time as this, when 

243 



THE TONGUE OF A WOMAN 243 

men's minds were disturbed and the scent of blood 
was in the air ! But for her proud and haughty 
nature she would have watched his movements, and 
would now have gone in search of him. But 
Mahina's soft, gentle face rose before her, with her 
pleading eyes, and Alrema lowered her head and wept 
silently. How could she kill Mahina, who had ever 
been her friend, and who had eyes and heart for Kiri- 
siani alone ? And yet — ah ! she could think no 
longer. Perhaps her husband was gone elsewhere, 
and Mahina slept alone with her children. 

The long, long hours passed slowly away till mid- 
night ; then a step crunched upon the pebbly path, 
and Young entered the house. His face was calm, 
but Alrema saw that his dark eyes burned with 
unusual brilliancy. 

As he seated himself, Smith came in. 

" Mr. Young," he said, "the others have just held 
a sort of meeting at Brown's house, and are now 
coming up to demand that we wait no longer for the 
Tahitians to surrender. They say their lives are in 
danger while the natives have arms in their possession. 
I have tried to persuade them to leave the matter to 
you, but they won't listen." 

" All right," answered the other quietly ; and 
Alrema noticed that he spoke somewhat brokenly, as 
if out of breath. " I can do no more, but if they 
insist in pursuing this quarrel to the bitter end, I must 
see it through with the rest of you." 

Alrema handed him a young coconut to drink. 
He took it from her hand, but his eyes avoided his 



244 THE MUTINEER 

wife's face. Then, taking his musket and putting a 
pistol in his belt, he spoke to Talalu. 

" You must come with us," he said, not unkindly 
to the Tahitian, " so that your countrymen may see 
that no harm hath been done thee. I will try and 
reason with them." Then, leaving Alrema with her 
child, the three men stepped out into the darkness to 
meet the others. 



Nahi had not deserted her husband in his ex- 
tremity. While he sat a prisoner in Young's house, 
wondering why she had not come near him, Nahi 
was busy with her tongue. Since nightfall she had 
been in Williams' house talking to her countrymen, 
and with passionate eloquence stirring their hearts to 
the doing of a great deed ; and the Tahitians and 
Tubuaians, as they watched her flashing eyes sparkle 
and glow like diamonds in the faint light and listened 
to her fiery appeal, shifted uneasily and muttered to 
one another in low tones. 

" Why dost thou urge us to such a bloody deed, oh 
Nahi ? " said Manale, a short, stout man, who, with 
his musket upon his knees, sat cross-legged on the 
floor. " 'Tis not for blood we seek, but for the right 
to live and work for ourselves, and no longer remain 
slaves. Thou art but a woman, and shouldst not 
urge " 



" A woman ! " and she clenched her hand fiercely 
round the hilt of the knife she held — " a woman, yes. 
But thou, Manale — bulky as thou art in body, thy 



THE TONGUE OF A WOMAN 245 

heart is as the heart of a tiny fish. Will ye five 
be slaves to these cruel vi^hite dogs ? Shame on ye 
all ! Is there no one among you better than a 
Mahu ? " I 

" Nay, insult us not, Nahi, with such bitter w^ords," 
said Tairoa-Maina ; " we are men. It is in our minds 
that Kirisiani will help us." 

She laughed bitterly. " Kirisiani ! He whom my 
husband trusted before other men — only to be be- 
trayed ! He has turned from our people, and cares 
not if his countrymen rid themselves of us. Death 
is before ye all, I tell thee. Will ye let these white 
men slay ye one by one ? Have ye not guns in thy 
hands ? Five pieces of iron, and death lieth within 
them, ready to leap out with flame and smoke. Live 
and be slaves ! Act and be men ! " 

She ceased ; the lamp of tui tui nuts flickered, 
wavered and died out, and darkness fell upon them. 

" Let us talk," said Tairoa-Maina in a whisper to 
the other four. 

" Aye, talk," said Nahi, " talk. And think that 
even now my husband lies dead because ye have 
proved cowards ! " 

Five minutes passed ; then Nahi, with fierce joy, 
saw them rise. 

" Come thou and see us act," said Manale to her, as 
he touched her arm, and they all filed out in silence. 

Young and Smith, with Talalu walking between 
them, had scarcely gone a hundred yards from the 

' A class of degraded Tahitians, now happily extinct, who affected 
the dress and manners of women. 



246 THE MUTINEER 

house when they met Quintal and McCoy coming 
down the rugged path towards Young's dwelling. 

" Mr. Young," said McCoy, " we have determined 
to clap a stopper on this mutiny at once. We can't 
let these fellows take charge of the island any longer, 
and we want you to come along with us and surprise 
them before daybreak." 

" Very well, I'm agreeable. But at the same time" 
— and Young laughed ironically — " it does me good 
to hear you — or any of us — talk about putting down 
a mutiny." 

"Call it by any name you like," said McCoy, 
roughly. " But it won't do for us to let this thing 
go on. We came to you because we know you won't 
leave us in the lurch, like Mr. Christian has." 

" All right ; lead on. Where are the others ? " 
said Young. 

" They've gone on ahead slowly ; we'll overtake 
them before they reach the house." 

Following Young in Indian file, the three white 
men and the Tahitian walked as quickly as the night 
would permit along the narrow path which wound 
gently up a hill thickly covered with hibiscus shrubs. 
So sinuous was their course, however, that objects 
even a few yards ahead could not be perceived. 

No sound disturbed the silence of the island night, 
save for the throbbing of the ever-restless surf and the 
strange, plaintive cries of the young sea-birds in their 
rookeries on the cliffs. 

Suddenly there rang out, and echoed and re-echoed 
in quavering reverberations in the hollows of the hills. 



THE TONGUE OF A WOMAN 247 

three musket shots in quick succession, followed by 
the hoarse, weird clamour of tens of thousands of birds 
as they rose and circled in wild alarm. 

" By God ! " cried Young, " we must run ; that's 
our men firing." 

" This comes of too much palavering. While we've 
been paying out fathoms of talk the fight has begun," 
said Quintal, angrily ; and the four white men, leaving 
Talalu to his own devices, took to their heels and ran 
excitedly in the direction of the firing, which seemed, 
however, to be nearer the white men's houses than to 
that of the Tubuaians. 

" Looks as if our fellows had grabbed 'em while 
they were asleep, and court-martialled 'em on the 
spot while we've been arguing over the thing," said 
McCoy as he ran with the others. 

But their surmises were entirely wrong. Before get- 
ting more than two hundred yards further Smith, who 
was in advance, stumbled and fell over something in the 
darkness ; the hands he put out to save himself plunged 
into a pool of blood which was oozing from the body 
of Brown, who lay dead in the middle of the track, 
with a jagged bullet-hole through his chest. 

" By God, it's Brown ! " cried Smith, feeling the 
man's face, " and he's dead ! " 

"There's been a fight. Come on, men, for heaven's 
sake ; we may be in time to save the others " ; and 
Young, followed by McCoy and Quintal, rushed 
along the track in search of their comrades, and in 
a few seconds had left Smith many yards behind. 

Stooping down again over the body of the murdered 



248 THE MUTINEER 

man, Smith felt his heart to satisfy himself that he was 
dead. He lifted the still bleeding figure, carried it a 
few yards away from the path, and proceeded to grope 
for his own musket, which he had dropped. 

As he stooped a dark form silently stepped out from 
the thick undergrowth lining the path. A clubbed 
musket was raised in the air, and Smith fell and lay 
unconscious close to the corpse of his fellow-country- 
man. 

" Aue ! " said Manale the Tubuaian to Nihu the 
Tahitian, who accompanied him, " 'tis Simeti whom 
I have slain. And I would not have harmed him, for 
he hath ever been good to us. But this dog" — and 
he spurned the body of the other white man — " was 
our enemy, and my hand was strong with hate when 
I slew him." 

Young and the others ran on, but only for a short 
distance, when again an exclamation of horror burst 
from them ; this time two dead men lay in their 
path — Mills and Martin. 

Then, before they could realise what had happened, 
five muskets blazed out from a rocky ridge above, and 
several naked figures sprang from their ambush with 
savage yells. 

None of the white men were struck, but Quintal 
and McCoy, terrified out of their wits, dropped their 
muskets and fled. The intense darkness favoured 
them. They succeeded in evading the rush of their 
opponents, and were soon clambering down the moun- 
tain side in the hope of finding better shelter in the 
dense scrub of the valley. Young alone stood his 



THE TONGUE OF A WOMAN 249 

ground, and fired his musket at the first of the natives 
who sprang upon him ; but he missed his mark, and 
before he could club the weapon Nihu struck him a 
blow on the head with a musket, and laid him sense- 
less. 

The five figures bent over him for a moment, and 
talked hurriedly among themselves. 

" 'Tis Etuati," said Tetihiti ; " he lieth as one 
dead. For the sake of Alrema, his wife, who is of 
my blood, let him live, oh friends " ; and he warded 
off the musket of the savage Manale, who had pressed 
the muzzle of the weapon to Young's heart. "But 
the other two, Makoi and Kawintali, must die." 

So they sped away in pursuit of Quintal and McCoy. 



CHAPTER XXX 

AFTER THE STORM 

FOR some minutes Edward Young lay stunned 
upon the rocky path, a stream of blood oozing 
from a severe cut in his head. Presently the cool 
night air brought him back to consciousness, and, 
as by slow degrees his senses returned he feared that 
he alone was left alive of all the white men on the 
island, and it was likely enough that even his hours 
were numbered. With a struggle he rose slowly and 
painfully, dragging his footsteps along the road until 
he reached his house. Fearful of again encountering 
the enraged islanders he proceeded with the greatest 
caution, stopping suddenly, when at a turn in the 
narrow track he saw three figures in a crouching 
position. 

He dropped upon his hands and knees and scanned 
them carefully. Presently he recognised Nahi, Alrema, 
and Terere. The three women were supporting 
Smith, who was too badly hurt to stand upon his feet. 
As Young watched, doubtful whether to approach or 
not, he saw a fourth figure join them, and knew Ma- 

250 



AFTER THE STORM 251 

hina by the black mantle of hair falling down her 
back. 

" Is he dead, I wonder ? " he muttered to himself. 
" Better for him if he is. I will never surrender her 
again." 

He rose to his feet and advanced towards them. The 
women gave a startled cry, and Smith fell back upon 
the ground with a groan of agony. 

Alrema's arms were round Young's neck in an 
instant, and her fearful, panting bosom pressed to 
his lovingly. " My husband, my husband," she 
murmured, " thou art wounded ; yet Nahi said thou 
wouldst be safe." She turned fiercely upon the wife 
of Talalu, who covered her face with her hands and 
wept. 

" Alas ! what have I done ? " said Nahi, " the fire 
of anger in my countrymen's hearts was kindled by 
me, and in their wrath they knew not friend from foe." 

Mahina drew near, trembling from head to foot ; 
and Alrema, with an agonised heart, saw her husband's 
hand steal out to her friend's and give it a quick, warm 
pressure. Then Mahina sank upon her knees in the 
darkness and wept silently. Did Alrema know that 
she, her friend, had yielded, and that Edward Young no 
longer cared for the brave, loyal wife who had fought 
and bled for him in the days gone by in Tubuai ? 

Alrema did know. But maddened as she was by 
the discovery of her husband's faithlessness, she was yet 
true to Mahina ; and all her love for Young welled up 
fresh and strong in her heart when she felt him sway- 
ing to and fro on his feet from weakness. 



252 THE MUTINEER 

" Thou cruel Nahi," she cried bitterly, " dost thou 
think that thy husband is more dear to thee than mine 
is to me " — a sob choked her utterance — "he for whom 
my life is ever ready to be given ? If he comes to 
further harm I sw^ear I w^ill kill thee, thou false and 
wricked Nahi." 

Nahi sprang to her feet, and her black eyes gleamed 
with fire as she threw her arms wide out. "What 
I have done was for the love of Talalu ! But let 
us not waste time in words ; hide thy husband and the 
husband of Terere until the fury of our people hath 
spent itself." 

It was now agreed that Young, who was only just 
able to walk, should go on ahead and conceal himself 
in a cave in the mountains, known only to the women, 
who would bring him food and water until he was safe 
from pursuit or further vengeance from the brown 
men ; and, supported by Alrema and the trembling 
Mahina, the wounded man set out, and the three 
toiled slowly along. Then Young began to talk. 

" Leave me by myself," he said weakly in English. 
"You, Alrema, return home and see to our child. 
Maybe she has come to harm. You, Mahina, look for 
your husband, he may be dead." 

" What matters it to me ? " burst from Mahina. 
"Would that I, too, were dead." 

" Take thou my husband to the cave, Mahina." 

It was Alrema who spoke, steadying her voice 
through unseen tears. " Take him to the cave whilst 
I seek out thy husband and bring him to thee — to thee 
and to his friend — his true and good friend." 



AFTER THE STORM 253 

The bitterness of the words, "his true and good 
friend," pierced the anguished heart of Christian's wife 
like a knife-stab. 

" Nay, nay, Alrema, leave me not, I pray thee. See, 
thy husband needs us both. Stay with me ; for the 
love I have always borne thee, stay with me." 

But Alrema only answered her with a sob, and 
in another instant was gone, to fall upon her face 
a few yards away and weep out her shame and 
bitterness of heart. " For the sake of my child," 
she moaned, "for the sake of my child, neither 
his blood nor hers shall redden my hand." 

Then rising to her feet she went to seek Christian. 



Smith had fainted. His wife, as soon as he returned 
to consciousness, assisted him to his feet ; they set out 
towards the cave where Young was gone, and in 
another hour their journey was successfully accom- 
plished. 

The wives of McCoy and Quintal — Puni the 
Huahine woman, and Malama — meantime sat alone 
in their houses, weeping at the thought of the fate 
which they felt sure had overtaken their husbands. 
Nahi, on her way to seek Talalu had called in and 
spoken words of encouragement which somewhat 
allayed their fears. She promised that she would 
restrain her countrymen from further attacking the 
white men ; then still fearful as to what had become 
of her own husband, she quickly ran the rest of 
the distance to her little dwelling in Williams* 



254 THE MUTINEER 

enclosure. When she entered she found the gigantic 
Tahitian quietly seated cross-legged upon a mat, with 
his musket beside him, eating his supper. She em- 
braced him tenderly and began to tell him of all that 
had happened. 

He interrupted her in the middle of her recital. 
" I know all, Nahi. I was hidden in a clump of trees 
and saw all that took place between thee and the 
wounded white men. And now that thou hast 
returned in safety I myself will go to Manale and 
the others, and stay their hands from further killing. 
Enough blood has been shed." 

Towards dawn the islanders returned from their 
fruitless search for McCoy and Quintal, and as they 
filed one by one into Williams' house they were met 
by Talalu, who had just missed them in the dark- 
ness. 

In a few words he so worked upon their feelings 
that they readily agreed to do no further harm to the 
remaining white men, and consented to meet and dis- 
cuss their future relations towards each other. 

Christian, slumbering in the loneliness of his moun- 
tain cave, had heard the report of the muskets and 
guessed what was happening ; but he was perfectly 
indifferent as to how the quarrel might end, and 
so remained where he was. About two or three hours 
before dawn he felt a touch upon his arm and saw 
a woman's figure bending over him. 

"What now?" he said angrily, thinking it was 
Mahina who had disturbed him. 

"I have come, Kirisiani, to tell thee that three 



AFTER THE STORM 255 

of the white men are dead, and Simeti and Etuati 
wounded. Didst thou not hear the guns ? " 

" I heard them, Alrema, but it is naught to me." 

" Naught to thee ? Hast thou no thought to ask 
if Mahina and thy children be alive or dead ? " 

He laughed bitterly. " None. What care I for 
Mahina ? Dost thou think I am blind ? Hast 
thou not seen what I have seen ? " 

The woman sank on her knees beside him, and, 
taking his hand in hers, wept passionately. ** Aye, 
I know it now. But yet Mahina is my friend, else 
had I killed her. And because of that and for my 
great friendship for thee have I brought thy two 
children, so that thou mayest take them to their 
mother." 

" Where is she ? " asked Christian as he rose, and 
with steel and flint lit the rude lamp of coconut oil. 

" She is waiting for thee in the cave with Simeti and 
my husband. And see, this do I swear — only because 
I bade her stay and help the wounded men did she 
remain away from thy house and children. Else would 
she have come, and with them sought thee here." 

Christian regarded her for a moment or two in 
silence. He admired her intense loyalty and devotion 
to Mahina, which was put to such a test, and so 
restrained himself from sneering at her weakness. 

"Where are my children ? " he asked. 

" They wait outside. I feared to bring them to 
thee till we had spoken together a little." 

"Bring them in," he said, "and stay with then: 
here till I return." 



256 THE MUTINEER 

She placed her hand upon his shoulder. "Thou 
wilt hurt neither my husband nor Mahina ? " she said 
beseechingly. 

"No," he said in a low voice, "neither. For 
the sake of these, my children, I will not." 

She took his hand and kissed it again. " Forgive 
her, Kirisiani. When thou didst cast her aside from 
thee on the cliffs she became in the hands of my 
husband, who is a cunning man, as a twig that is bent 
by the fingers of a child. Only for this she had 
remained true to thee and he true to me." 

Again he laughed with bitter scorn. "All women 
are alike, and all men are false to their friends and their 
duty when a woman's face comes between. Stay here 
till I return." 

Just as dawn broke. Christian, guided by the direc- 
tions Alrema had given him, found and entered the 
cave, and was greeted with an exclamation of joy from 
Smith ; Young, who lay upon a couch of leaves, 
merely nodded to him and said nothing. Mahina was 
not visible. 

" I am glad to find you both alive — both^^ he added, 
with a steady glance at Edward Young, whose eyes 
dropped before his, "although if every white man on 
the island had been killed it would have been but 
justice. How can these people trust men who, even 
among themselves, are guilty of the blackest treachery 
to each other ? " 

For a little while no one spoke ; then came a murmur 
of voices outside, and Talalu stood before the three 
white men. 



AFTER THE STORM 257 

"This is my message to ye, oh white men who 
were once my friends ; these are the words of Temua, 
Nihu, the men of Tubuai, and I, Talalu. Let there 
be peace between us. We sought not blood ; only 
when it was forced upon us did we fight and kill. Let 
there be peace." 

"I blame neither thee nor them," said Christian 
quietly, "and now I tell these two men here, who 
were once my friends, but whom I wish to see no 
more, that they will do well to make peace with thee 
and thy countrymen." 

Without a word of farewell he turned and left them 
with Talalu, who, as both Young and Smith saw, was 
unfeignedly glad at their escape ; and they in their 
turn were relieved to hear that McCoy and Quintal 
were safe. 

As the sun rose they heard plaintive notes of wailing 
for the dead rising from the valley below, and soon 
after, Nahi and some of the Tahitian men came, 
unarmed, to tell them that their comrades' graves were 
being dug. 

Still weak from loss of blood, Young and Smith 
managed to leave their retreat and, assisted by the now 
friendly Tahitians, reach the valley, where they saw 
standing round the three bodies a little group of brown 
people. As they drew near, Manale stepped out from 
the others and offered his hand to Young. 

"Is it peace between us ? " he asked. 

" It is peace," said Young and Smith, both taking 
his hands. 

Presently they were joined by McCoy and Quintal ; 
18 



258 THE MUTINEER 

and the bodies of the slain men, having been wrapped 
in mats by the women, were placed in their graves in 
silence, broken only by the sobs of their wives. 

Walking slowly away from the cave, Fletcher 
Christian, with white, despairing face, went first to his 
house, intending to bring away some further articles 
for his own use in his retreat. The door was closed, 
but not fastened on the inside. Pushing it open, he 
saw the figure of his wife upon her couch. She had 
been weeping, and as he entered the room trembled in 
every nerve ; then, ere he could restrain her, cast 
herself at his feet and flung back her head. 

"Kill me," she cried ; "kill me, else will I die as 
did Faito." 

He drew back from her coldly. " Thou art but a 
woman, and men do not kill women in my country, 
even though they be false to their husbands. Listen 
to me. So that I never see thy face again I am 
content. But still would I see my children some- 
times. Therefore with thee they shall remain, and 
sometimes will I come to them." 

In another moment he was gone, and Mahina looked 
wildly after his retreating figure. Then she swayed 
and fell, and an hour after Alrema, with tears of pity 
filling her star-like eyes, came in with the children and 
embraced her friend lovingly. 

" He will yet love thee again," said the loyal girl — 
" 'tis but a black cloud that will vanish. And see, I 
too forgive thee." 



CHAPTER XXXI 



MINE THE HAND 



A MONTH had elapsed. To Mahina it was a 
month of misery. 

With her children she passed her days and nights in 
solitude, broken only by visits from Talalu and Alrema, 
who both knew the secret of her suffering. Once or 
twice only had she caught sight of Christian as he 
wandered about his cliffs at dusk, and had been impelled 
by her love to follow and speak to him ; but with a 
cold gesture of indifference he had waved her back and 
walked slowly on, oblivious to her heart-wrung sobs. 

And not to Mahina alont. had come suspense and 
grief; Alrema suffered too, for her husband now neg- 
lected her for the company of McCoy and Quintal. 
Since the deaths of Brown, Mills, and Martin, a period 
of incessant watchfulness and suspicion had ensued — 
the white men dreaded the brown, the brown suspected 
the white. Edward Young, fearful of more blood- 
shed, had tried to persuade the islanders to give their 
arms up to him ; but this, though they repeated their 

259 



26o THE MUTINEER 

assurance of good will towards the seamen, they refused 
to do. 

" To Kirisiani alone will we give up our guns," 
said one of the Tubuaians, "for in him alone have we 
faith. And Kirisiani himself saith that there is no 
faith or honour in any among ye. Thou, Etuati, who 
wert once his sworn taio^ knowest if he speaketh truth." 

Young winced at the native's words, but said 
nothing. His mad infatuation for Mahina still remained, 
yet he was sensible of his own degradation and treach- 
ery to Christian, and a sense of shame kept him from 
approaching Mahina since that fatal evening. Mahina 
herself, though the man had acquired a strange power 
over her, forcing her to believe his passionate declara- 
tion of love, trembled with fear lest she should see him 
again. 

Talalu, ever; faithful both to her and her husband, 
was the one man on the island with whom Christian 
now held converse, and the big-hearted fellow more 
than once sought him out in his retreat and tried to 
induce him at least to meet and speak to his wretched 
wife. 

" She is but a woman, Kirisiani ; and see, oh friend, 
her heart is eaten up for love of thee. Canst thou not 
take her to thee again ? Thou art strong ; she is weak. 
Are women of Peretane never unfaithful ? " 

But Christian, though he listened to the friendly 
Tahitian, would answer, " Let it be as it is — she is 
nought to me, nor I to her." 

One night as the two sat together on the edge of 
the cliffs, looking over the wide expanse of star-lit 



"MINE THE HAND" 261 

ocean, the Tahitian began to talk of the condition of 
affairs between his countrymen and the whites, and 
urged Christian to destroy, if possible, the growing 
unrest and suspicion which disturbed both parties. 

"Thy countrymen," he said, "go about in fear of 
us, with their muskets ever to their hands. Thou, who 
art a chief among them, canst still make them listen to 
thee ; then will they forget all that is past, for we of 
Tahiti and Tubuai do not seek more bloodshed." 

"I can do nothing for thee, Talalu. Bitterly do I 
repent the misery and death that I have wrought to 
white men and brown ; but I can do nothing — no 
longer will I interfere between thy people and my 
countrymen." 

One night all that remained of the mutineers 
assembled in Young's house. The last to enter was 
Smith, accompanied by Terere, whom he placed out- 
side to watch. The door was carefully closed, and the 
men sat on the rough wooden benches which, with a 
table, formed the furniture of the living room. For 
some minutes they conversed in low tones ; then 
Young rose and spoke. 

"We can delay no longer," he said. "The Tahitians, 
my wife will tell you, intend to attack us at daybreak. 
They firmly believe that we shall not rest until we 
have avenged the murder of our countrymen." 

The other men looked at each other and nodded 
acquiescence. 

*' Yesterday, so Alrema says, they came to the 
horrible resolution of killing us all except Christian. 
Him they look upon as mad, and, as you know, they 



262 THE MUTINEER 

have a curious feeling of regard for mad people. They 
consider the insane as inspired and protected by the 
gods, and their lives are held sacred. Now, God 
knows, I have no wish to see more bloodshed on this 
island ; but," and here Young's face paled and his 
words came slowly, " it seems to me that my wife's 
advice, however dreadful it may appear, should be 
followed. Either they or we must die." 

McCoy struck the table with his huge, heavy fist. 
" Speaking for myself and Mat Quintal, I think we 
ought to have done it long ago. Mr. Christian's 
damned fine ideas about the rights o' these bloody- 
minded savages is all very well when you haven't got 
to live with them. I am for settling it at once." 

" I don't agree with you," said Smith, " but I sup- 
pose my opinion won't alter the matter one way or 
another. Since Mr. Christian won't have anything 
to do with us, I am willing to look to Mr. Young as 
our leader. If he considers it necessary for our safety 
to murder these people — why I've gone too far to hold 
back now." 

"Murder is an ugly name. Smith," said Young 
quickly, "and I've no mind to accept your help. 
McCoy, Quintal, and myself can do what is to be 
done without you. We must either kill or be killed." 

"Aye, aye, Mr. Young," said Quintal approvingly. 
" Smith had better go to his friend, Mr. Christian, 
and live in his cave. We three can settle this business. 
We don't want any white-livered man among us at 
a time like this." 

With a fierce glance Smith sprang to his feet. 



"MINE THE HAND" 263 

"Damn you, Quintal, you are too ready with your 
tongue. I'm no more white-livered than you are. 
You knew that when we took the ship off Tofoa. 
If Mr. Young says the word I am ready to fight, or 
murder, or whatever you like to call it, all the Tahi- 
tians myself. To my mind he's a King's officer still 
— leastways so far as my obedience to him goes. Say 
what is to be done, and I'll have a hand in the doing 
of it." 

" Words, words, idle words, and nothing is done. 
In a little time it may be too late. While ye talk, 
and talk, I, Alrema, will alone do the deed. Mine 
shall be the hand to strike." 

Alrema was sitting in a corner of the house, her 
dark eyes watching with intense interest each move- 
ment of the white men, and listening to every word 
spoken ; and her husband, as he turned towards her, 
saw in her eyes the look he had seen long ago on 
Tubuai, when she held in her hand a blood-stained 
cutlass. 

" I alone will do it," and seizing an axe from a tool- 
rack on the wall she waved her hand to the whites, 
opened the door, and was gone. 

Picking up their muskets the four men hastily 
followed Alrema along the narrow track which led 
to the dwelling of her countrymen and the house of 
Williams. 

At the doorway of Williams' house sat the huge 
Taialu, musket in hand, keeping watch while his 
countrymen slept. For some weeks they had never 
rested without setting a watch, for their wives warned 



26+ THE MUTINEER 

them continually that the white men were dangerous 
and were plotting mischief. Nahi, who seemed ani- 
mated by the bitterest feeling of hatred against all the 
whites save Christian, had continually declared that 
sooner or later the remaining Englishmen would 
avenge the deaths of their comrades by a sudden 
massacre. Her repeated warning had so worked upon 
the fears of her countrymen as to force them into 
believing its truth, and they resolved to be beforehand 
with the white men. 

" Kill them, kill them," she urged. " Only when 
their blood runs shall we be safe." 

So they sat together in the darkened room and 
agreed to make an attack next morning at daybreak, 
in which Nahi and the wives of the Tahitians were 
to take part. After arranging the details, the plotters 
lay down to sleep, leaving Talalu on watch. He was 
to call them at dawn ; and as the brown men spread 
their mats upon the gravelled floor, Nahi whispered 
in his ear, " To-morrow, my husband, those who 
sought thy life will be silent for ever." 

But Nahi little knew that Alrema, ever on the 
alert, had learned from Puni the danger that overhung 
the white men, and had guarded against it. 

Talalu, sitting dreamily on the doorstep of the 
house, with his musket across his knees, woke with a 
start. Surely a footstep rustled the dead pandanus 
leaves that lay along the path ? He opened his half- 
closed eyes and listened. Nothing broke the stillness 
but the murmuring hum of the surf, and the strange 
weird rustle of the wind as it soughed through the 



"MINE THE HAND" 265 

groves of pandanus and coco-palms. He bent his 
head again and dozed, then in an instant was upon 
his feet. Some one was approaching, for this time he 
heard clearly the crackling of dead leaves underfoot. 

Leaning on his musket his keen eye eagerly 
scanned the darkness of the night. A soft footfall 
behind him — and it was too late. Before he could 
rise and face the intruder, or call an alarm, Alrema's 
axe had cleft his skull in halves, and the watcher's cry 
of warning mingled with his dying groan. 

Swinging the weapon over her head, Alrema, fol- 
lowed by the white men, dashed into the house, and 
then, in the dim light of the flickering lamp, began a 
horrible slaughter of the sleeping men. Manale, who 
lay nearest the door, fell as he rose, beneath a blow 
from Alrema's axe, which sank deep into the broad, 
naked bosom ; and three shots from the white man's 
muskets did the rest of their bloody work. 

One of the Tubuaians alone succeeded in leaping 
past his assailants and gaining the door ; but Young 
drew a pistol from his belt, sprang before him and 
pointed the weapon at his head. 

" Shoot ! " cried Alrema, " shoot ! spare none, so that 
we may have peace afterwards." 

The savage thirst for slaughter in her voice steadied 
the wavering hand that but for her would have spared. 
For a moment he hesitated, then aimed the pistol at 
the Tubuaian's breast, pulled the trigger, and the last 
of the brown men fell upon his face on the blood- 
stained mats. 



CHAPTER XXXII 



NAHI S REVENGE 



TOO terrified to aid their husbands, and each 
moment expecting to share their fate, the wives 
of the murdered men crouched together in horror at 
one end of the room, nor could all the endeavours of 
the Englishmen soothe their fears. At last Young 
and his companions went away and left them with 
their dead. »Alrema, fearless as she was, went with 
them, for there was in Nahi's face a look of such 
deadly hatred that even her iron-souled nature quailed 
before it. 

At sunrise next morning two people alone on the 
island knew nothing of what had happened — Fletcher 
Christian and Mahina. That morning she sat beside 
him in the cave, fanning his flushed face and aching 
head, for he was ill and suffering in mind and body. 
Two days before, at sundown, as he wandered along 
the wild and rugged track leading to his mountain 
retreat, she had watched him unseen, and saw that he 
staggered as he walked and had scarce strength enough 
to drag his weary feet along. She waited till darkness 



NAHI'S REVENGE 267 

set in and then followed, her heart beating fast in an 
agony of hope and fear. Peering cautiously in she 
saw her husband fling himself upon his couch and 
mats and lie there, his face turned away from her, 
breathing heavily and painfully. For some minutes 
she stood and watched him with tears of loving pity 
filling her eyes. Her husband ! He whose love was 
once hers, and might yet be again ! And he 
was ill and weak. Surely he would not curse her 
now ? 

Softly she crept in through the darkness and sat near 
him, longing yet fearing to speak ; but soon she knew 
by his low mutterings and the way in which he flung 
his arms about that he was ill of fever. She had sur- 
mised as much when she saw him going towards the 
cave, and knew how perfectly helpless even a strong 
man became in a few hours from the first attack. 

Quickly she made her way in the darkness back to 
her house, filled a small basket with some ripe limes, 
roused her children, and, leading one and carrying. the 
other, returned as quickly as possible. 

Short as was her absence, she knew as soon as she 
entered the cave by the sound of Christian's breathing 
that he was much worse. Placing the children — of 
whose fretful cries her husband seemed quite uncon- 
scious — by themselves in a corner, she quickly cut 
some of the limes in halves and squeezed them into 
a coconut-shell, with a little water. Then she raised 
Christian's head upon her knees, and the fever-stricken 
man, suffering from the agonies of a burning thirst, 
eagerly drank the life-giving draught. All that night 



268 THE MUTINEER 

she sat beside him, cooling his aching head and giving 
him at short intervals a mouthful of lime-juice. To- 
wards morning the violence of the fever abated. He 
slept, and Mahina vi^as happy as she vv^atched. 

The dawn came, and Christian's breathing grew 
soft and regular. Mahina took his hand in hers, and 
raised it to her lips ; then, overcome by weariness, she 
lay beside him and slept too. 

As the first streaks of sunlight, piercing the mountain 
mists, lit up the dark and jagged rocks which hid the 
cave within their bosom. Christian awoke, and knew 
that the fever was gone. Then a cry escaped him, 
as he saw the sleeping figures of his wife and children ; 
and the basket of limes and the wet bandage just fallen 
from his temples told him all. She had come to him 
when he was ill and suffering ; come to him when his 
last words to her had been a curse. A great pity 
welled up in his heart as he looked at her pale, worn 
face, so full of pain and suffering. Her thick mantle 
of black hair seemed like a funeral pall to her body, 
now so weak and thin. 

A blade of yellow sunshine shot in through the 
mouth of the cave ; it touched her face and glorified 
it with a strange radiance, and P'letcher Christian's 
better nature came back to him once more. 

Sinking quietly back upon his pillow he reached out 
his hand and placed it gently upon her head. 

« Mahina ! " 

A broken cry of trembling happiness, then in an 
instant she was on her knees before him, with her 
hands clasped tightly together, and a look of unutter- 



NAHI'S REVENGE 269 

able yearning in her dark, sad eyes. He drew her to 
him and kissed her lips. 

" Thou art my wife," he said. 

With streaming eyes she flung her arms round his 
neck and sobbed out her joy to live again upon her 
husband's bosom. 

All that morning she remained in the cave, for 
Christian was still weak from the fever. In the after- 
noon, to her great joy he told her that henceforward 
she and the children should remain with him there, 
as he had no desire to return and live in the valley. 
Mahina eagerly set about removing all their possessions 
to the new home. When she returned, the sight of 
Christian playing with and caressing her children 
filled her with a wild sense of happiness, and already 
her face was glowing with all the old beauty which 
had once fascinated the man she loved. 

In her excitement about removing the contents or 
their old house, Mahina did not notice the absence 
of the people from the village. That night, however, 
when after so many months of misery she and her 
children lay beside her husband, she talked with 
Christian of the growing suspicion and hatred now 
again rending the life of the little community. 

" Only thee of all the white men do my people 
trust," she said. " Wilt thou not yet come and decide 
between them and thy countrymen, ere it be too late ? 
Is it not better, my husband, for all men to dwell 
together in peace ? A hot word leadeth to a blow, 
and the hand toucheth the musket, and death leaps 
out from the hollow iron." 



270 THE MUTINEER 

" True, Mahina," he answered mournfully ; " I 
alone am to blame for the bloodshed in Afita. But 
never more will I interfere." 

How long they had slept they knew not, when 
suddenly they awoke to the report of firearms. 

" What new horror is this ? " muttered Christian to 
himself, as he hastily rose and dressed. 

" 'Tis my countrymen who have again attacked the 
white men," answered Mahina, trembling with fear 
lest her people should seek Christian's life in their mad 
lust for slaughter, and her newly-found happiness come 
to a sudden end. 

" 'Tis as likely that the white men have attacked 
the brown," answered Christian bitterly. " Are we 
not all rebels and murderers ? " 

Determined to shoot the first man who should 
attempt to enter with hostile intent, he took a stool 
to the mouth of the cave, and sat there musket in 
hand, waiting for the dawn. No further sound reached 
them from the valley, and they were beginning to 
hope that they had heard only the Tahitians discharg- 
ing their pieces to frighten away "evil spirits," but 
as the day broke, they saw the figure of Alrema 
clambering up the path along the ridge. 

"What has happened?" cried Mahina to the 
girl. 

" Alas ! Mahina, the white men are well, but all or 
our countrymen and the men of Tubuai are dead ; 
the white men have slain them all. And their wives 
have now fled in fear and hidden themselves." 

In a few words she told her dreadful story, and 



NAHI'S REVENGE 271 

added how, when daylight came, the wives of McCoy 
and Smith, going to comfort the widows of the mur- 
dered men, found nothing there but the cold bodies 
of the victims — the women had fled. So while the 
four seamen buried those whom they had slain, their 
wives went in search of the missing women, and 
Alrema had come to the cave, thinking that they 
might have taken refuge with Christian. 

"Thou cruel murderess," said Christian sternly to 
Alrema, "so thine was the bloody hand which took 
the life of Talalu ! May the gods punish thee, thou 
cruel and wicked woman ! " 

His savage words terrified her, and she shrunk 
back in alarm. Disdaining further speech with her. 
Christian turned to Mahina. 

" Come, Mahina, let us seek for these poor creatures 
who in the madness of their despair and terror may do 
themselves injury." 

Leaving the sleeping children, and closely followed 
by Alrema, Christian and Mahina began to descend 
the mountain by the narrow and intricate path winding 
to the plain. Sometimes it led through huge crevices 
in the rock, which shut out the light on either side, 
and left only a patch of blue sky overhead ; sometimes 
it ran sharply over the dizzy summit of the broken 
mountain, from whence they could see the surf-beaten 
beach below. 

Suddenly the quick seaman's eye of Christian detected 
moving figures on Bounty Beach, and he stopped and 
gazed intently down. Away from the wash of the 
waves the 'Bounty's boat lay bottom uowards, rapidly 



272 THE MUTINEER 

falling into decay from disuse ; and the figures he had 
seen were turning it over upon its keel. 

Even while he looked he saw the three women, the 
moment they had turned the boat over, begin to drag 
her towards the water ; but they were not strong 
enough to make much progress in their efforts. 

A cry of pity escaped Mahina. 

" What would they do ? " she said. " The boat 
is old and rotten, and they seek to drag it to the 
water ! Save them, my husband, ere they die by 
the sharks." 

" Nay, it is I who have filled them with fear, and 
'tis I who will save them from death ! " And Alrema 
bounded down the dangerous path, her long, black 
hair flying about her naked shoulders as she sprang 
from ledge to ledge, thoughtless of danger to herself 
in her effort to avert this last calamity. 

Christian and Mahina followed closely, but when 
Alrema gained the beach the women had succeeded in 
floating the boat and, using her bottom boards as 
paddles, had sent her some little distance from the 
shore. 

" Come back, come back, thou foolish Nahi ! " 
Alrema cried frantically from the beach. " Come 
back ; I swear by the gods that no harm shall come 
to thee ! " 

A heavy roller lifted the boat and carried her back 
for some distance shoreward, and the women had all 
they could do to keep her from broaching to ; but 
Nahi while she paddled looked over her shoulder at 
Alrema and cursed her bitterly. 



NAHI'S REVENGE 273 

"Thou murderess!" she cried, "rather will we 
drown or go into the bellies of the sharks than live 
in this bloody land of Afita with thee." 

Alrema took no heed of her words, but cast off 
her waist-cloth of tappa and plunged into the sea. 
She could see that there was a brief lull in the 
succession of rollers tumbling in upon the beach, 
and that, poor as their boards were, the women 
would succeed in getting out to deep water unless 
she managed to reach the boat quickly. 

" Paddle, paddle," panted Nahi to the others ; 
"let not the red-handed woman touch the boat!" 
and she plunged her board into the water with 
all her strength — it broke in halves, and the boat 
broached to. 

She stood up in the stern, with despair in her eyes, 
and looked round her. Already Alrema was within a 
few feet of the boat, and in imploring tones was 
calling to the women to return, when Nahi spoke 
to her two companions in a low voice. They looked 
inquiringly at her, and she answered their looks with 
an impatient gesture to cease paddling. 

Panting, and now almost exhausted, Alrema at last 
gained the boat, put out her right hand and grasped 
the gunwale. 

"Come," she said faintly, "come back with me, 
Nahi." 

Looking down at her with savage hatred, the wife 
of Talalu smiled cruelly at the pleading face. 

" Aye," she answered, " I come." And, without 
another word she sprang out of the boat, clasped her 
19 



274 THE MUTINEER 

arms round Alrema's neck, and uttering a curse 

with her last breath, dragged her enemy to death 

with her beneath the water. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 



THE BREW OF DEATH 



A FORTNIGHT after the last of the tragedies 
which had marked the life of the island dwellers, 
Christian withdrew himself for ever from all associa- 
tion with the rest of the white men, and spent his 
whole time in the cave, scarce speaking even to his 
now heart-broken wife, though her patient, winning 
ways won from him sometimes a mute caress. 

By day she watched with the tenderest solicitude 
over her husband's lonely wanderings ; by night she 
listened to the strange mutterings which broke his 
sleep ; torturing her mind with dread that the end 
of her brief happiness was near. 

The other women still lived in constant fear of 
some new horror, and when the white men's wives 
had performed their daily round of tasks for their 
husbands' homes, they gathered together in the dusk 
of the evening with the widows of the murdered men, 
and tremblingly asked each other what the morrow 
would bring forth — would it be death for all ? 
Nothing that the white men could say could quiet 
275 



276 THE MUTINEER 

their fears ; and at last in their extremity they came 
to the resolution to poison all the white men who 
remained, lest their masters should plan some new 
attack upon them. 

But as soon as they had come to this determination, 
some of them, fearful that their plans might miscarry, 
and their intended victims retaliate upon them with 
some dreadful punishment, secretly informed Young, 
Smith, McCoy, and Quintal of the plot. At first the 
white men listened incredulously, and when they did 
believe the story they understood that the women 
had been driven to this horrible device through fear 
alone, and not from any desire for vengeance upon 
their husbands' murderers. And so when one by one 
the plotters confessed and begged for forgiveness. 
Young and the others not only readily granted it, 
but tried hard to persuade them that their terror was 
groundless. 

Worn with the results of a fever which, soon after 
the tragic end of his wife, had wasted his once great 
strength and muscular frame, Edward Young was 
now greatly changed. As he listened to the women's 
tale he raised his hands above his head, and swore by 
their gods and the Christ-God of the white men that 
no harm should come to them. 

*' Let us who are left dwell together in peace," he 
said. 

With fresh hope kindled in their bosoms, the poor 
women bent their heads to the ground and kissed his 
feet, and swore to work for and obey him and the 
other white men to the end of their lives. 



THE BREW OF DEATH 277 

So the months went by in quiet and uneventful life, 
and although the little community at the settlement 
sometimes saw Mahina and her two children, her 
husband never came near them. Twice he and 
Young met, and the latter's face flushed deeply at 
the memory of the past, but Christian spoke to him 
calmly, without a sign of either anger or bitterness, 
and then went on his way indifferent to all around 
him. 

Young himself had now so far succeeded in con- 
troUing his passion for Mahina as to marry the widow 
of one of the murdered Tahitians, and sought by his 
conduct to make her and the other women feel that 
their lives were in no danger. The terrible fate of 
Alrema had had a good and lasting effect upon his 
reckless nature, and there now seemed no likelihood 
of a further tragedy breaking the monotony of 
existence on the lonely island. Christian lived entirely 
in his cave, but occasionally worked with Mahina in 
the garden of their deserted house, and cheerfully gave 
part of its yield to those of the community whose 
lands were not so fruitful. 



Three years passed, then there came a change. 
One evening McCoy walked over to Quintal's house, 
accompanied by Puni, his Huahine wife. Quintal 
and his wife Malama were rolling into a cylindrical 
shape a bundle of wild tobacco leaf, while their little 
half-blood son lay asleep. 

Seating himself cross-legged on the matted floor 



278 THE MUTINEER 

beside his comrade, and briefly nodding to Malama, 
McCoy said, " I'm sick of this damned life. Mat ; the 
same round day after day, night after night — no 
change, no pleasure. Young and Smith don't have 
much to say to us, and Christian is as good as a dead 
man, for all he has to do with us." 

" I'm as tired of it as you are, Bill," answered 
Quintal ; " but what are we to do ? We can't 
leave here even if we had a good boat — we dare 
not." 

" No, I know that well enough ; but I've an idea 
how we can make life a little pleasanter — for us two, 
at any rate." 

" How ? " 

" Do you remember once I was telling Brown 
about a ship's company that was cast away at Mar- 
tinique, or some island near there, who found a plant, 
out of which they made barrels and barrels of good 
grog?" 

" Well, this isn't Martinique." 

" No ; but the same plant grows here. Just before 
poor Will Brown was killed he told me — it's the 
thing the women call ti.^ Why, it's growing all 
over the island — there's acres of it in the little valley 
at the back of Tautumah." 

" How are we going to make it ? " said Quintal, 
with sudden interest. " It would be a glorious thing 
to have a taste of grog again." 

"With the Bounty's copper boiler and my know- 
ledge of the thing. I worked in a distillery in Dublin 

' Cordyline terminalis. 



THE BREW OF DEATH 279 

when I was a boy, and it'll go hard if I can't make a 
still." 

" I'm with you, my hearty. Come on, it's a fine 
night — let us go and get the copper out of the store 
house. We'll make a cradle for it, and Malama and 
Puni here can carry it up at once. If you can make 
grog out of ti root I'll say you're a damned clever 
fellow." 

A week later McCoy rushed into Quintal's house, 
" It's done, Mat, I've got good spirit ; come and try 
it." 

Quintal did try it, not once, but several times. An 
hour afterwards he and his comrade reeled up to 
Young's house, where Smith was seated at the table, 
receiving instruction in reading and writing from 
Young. Of late this manner of passing their 
evenings had become a settled thing between them. 
What few books were on board the 'Bounty when 
Christian had run her ashore had been quietly taken 
possession of by Smith, and from these, with the aid 
of Young and his own intelligence, he was rapidly 
improving himself. 

As he and Young sat together at the table their 
women occupied themselves in stitching clothes made 
from tappa cloth, and as they worked they spoke in 
low tones, lest they should disturb their white 
husbands. 

With a drunken laugh, McCoy, followed by 
Quintal, staggered into the dimly-lighted room, and, 
steadying himself with one hand on the table, addressed 
Young and Smith. 



28o THE MUTINEER 

"Come and have a glass of grog, Mr. Young," he 
hiccoughed. 

" Yes, come along and drink confusion to the King, 
and bring the women with you," cried Quintal, leering 
amiably at Terere and Young's wife, who had sprung 
to their feet in alarm ; " it's good liquor we've got — 
none of your bounty slops, none of Old Grog's slush, 
but the real thing." 

" Why, these fellows are drunk or mad," exclaimed 
Young, with a look of astonishment at Smith. 

" Where could they get drink ? " answered Smith, 
looking first at one and then at the other. They met 
his expression of wonder with coarse guffaws. 

" Get it ! Why, you damned fools, we made it ! 
I made it ! What's your book learning amount to ? 
It couldn't teach you to make prime liquor like it," 
said McCoy, who was ready to quarrel with any one. 

" If you have found a way of making spirit, it is 
about the worst thing you could have done. You'll 
kill yourselves with it," said Young, who remembered 
that both McCoy and Quintal were several times 
punished while on the 'Bounty for drunkenness. 

McCoy answered with a curse, Quintal made a 
threatening gesture, and a desperate quarrel would 
have ensued, but Smith interfered ; and finally, to 
pacify the drunken men, he and Young went across 
to McCoy's house to taste his brewing. 

It was fortunate for both Young and Smith that 
each conceived a dislike for the fiery liquor at the first 
taste. When McCoy and Quintal, with drunken in- 
sistence, urged them to make a night of it, and kept 



THE BREW OF DEATH 281 

swallowing drink after drink, the other two surrepti- 
tiously threw theirs on the ground. Promising to 
return later on, they at last managed to escape, and 
get back to their frightened wives. 

On the following evening the drunkards, who had 
slept till near noon, again appeared. Tliis time they 
were so savage in their demeanour, and threatened 
such fearful villainies, that the other two men feared 
bloodshed, and hid themselves with their wives in a 
thicket near the house. For two days and nights the 
two seamen continued their drinking bout ; each even- 
ing their drunken yells and horrid blasphemies reached 
even the dwellers in Christian's cave, and made Mahina 
tremblingly press her infant to her bosom. 

On the morning of the third day, McCoy in his 
frenzy, rushed from his house, followed by the equally 
maddened Quintal, took the path along the edge of 
the cliffs, and, reaching the highest peak, threw himself 
headlong upon the rocks below. 

A hideous laugh of approval came from Quintal as he 
saw McCoy leap to death, then, with a look of insane 
cunning, muttering and gibbering to himself, he re- 
turned to the settlement, and went inside his house. 
There he poured out a pannikin of the fiery liquid, and 
tossed it off; then, picking up an axe and a burning 
brand, set off at a run towards the other houses. His 
dreadful appearance and the wild curses he shouted 
upon every one sent the Tahitian women fleeing before 
him to seek refuge with Smith and Young, who rushed 
to the doorway and saw the demented creature destroy- 
ing Williams' house with his axe. In a few minutes 



282 THE MUTINEER 

he had utterly wrecked it, and then, flinging down his 
weapon, he advanced towards Young's house, waving 
the firebrand in his hand. 

Apparently unconscious that his movements were 
watched, he sprang over the low stone wall and made 
straight for the house, looking at the thick drooping 
thatch, and grinning like a fiend. 

" Stand back," cried Young, as musket in hand he 
pushed past Smith and the terrified women, and faced 
Quintal, "stand back, Quintal, and throw away that 
firestick, or, as God is above me, I will shoot you ! " 

A mocking laugh was the wretch's answer ; he 
staggered past, and seizing a bunch of the light, dry 
thatch in his left hand thrust the firestick into its 
centre. 

" I'm going to burn your " He never finished, 

for Young, raising his musket, fired, and shot the 
miserable man dead. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

"try to forget the past" 

CHRISTIAN, as soon as he heard of the death of 
Quintal, bitterly reproached himself as the cause ; 
his old brooding manner returned to him in all its 
former intensity, and, nothing that Mahina or Smith 
said could soften the feeling of passionate remorse 
which now took possession of him." 

" God knows, Mr. Christian," said Smith to the 
mutineer in an endeavour to rouse him from his 
melancholy, " you have nothing to reproach yourself 
with. You are not responsible for what led to the 
death of these men. If my musket had been loaded I 
would have shot Quintal myself ; and I am no lover 
of bloodshed." 

Christian made no answer, but buried his face in his 
hands ; and presently Smith, seeing that he seemed to 
have become unconscious of his presence, returned to 
his house. Descending the ridge he met Young 
coming up. His face was very pale, and Smith saw 
that he was suffering deeply. 

283 



284 THE MUTINEER 

" You shouldn't overtax yourself like this, Mr. 
Young," he said. " Where are you going ? " 

A deep flush dyed Young's sallow face. " I am 
going to Christian. Do you think he will see me ? " 

Smith looked at him curiously for a moment, then 
held out his hand, " I am sure he will, sir. God 
knows you have done him bitter wrong, but he said 
to me only the other day, when he was speaking of 
his wife, that he had too many sins upon his own head 
to judge either you or her." 

Edward Young's hand trembled a little as he leaned 
upon his stick ; and without another word he turned 
and went towards Christian's cave. 

The dead silence of the place oppressed him, and 
the sight of Christian's figure, as he satjwith his hands 
to his face at the entrance to the cave, made him 
hesitate and shook his resolution, but only for a 
moment. He took a few quick steps and touched 
the man who had once been his friend on the 
shoulder. Christian raised his head and looked at him. 

" I have come to you, Christian, for the last tim.e. 
I am not a sentimental fool, but I feel that if you 
would once more give me your hand and think of me, 
not as the cowardly scoundrel I have proved, but as 
your old and trusted messmate of days gone by, I 
should be less miserable. I feel that I am a dying 
man — will you forgive and forget ? " 

Only the sound of Young's panting breath was 
heard for a few moments, and then Fletcher Christian 
stood up and held out his hand. 

" I forgive you freely, Young. Not for the sake or 



"TRY TO FORGET THE PAST" 285 

our comradeship in crime, but in the knowledge that 
I, too, need forgiveness in the sight of God for the 
bloody deeds that my mad folly and hasty temper have 
brought about. There is my hand." 

For a little time neither of them spoke. Young, 
looking at the gaunt figure of his old shipmate, v/o.s 
filled with pity. 

His memory flew back to the days at Matavai 
when the young officer had vanquished in friendly 
contest the picked wrestlers of Tahiti, and Tina and 
the gentle Aitia had praised his strength and courage. 
And Christian, as he listened to Young's laboured 
breath and almost whispered tones, knew that his 
time was not far off, yet that for them both there 
was at least some hope of a brighter future, short as it 
might be. 

Presently Young, with his hand on Christian's 
shoulder, broke the silence. 

" Let us try, old friend, to reconcile ourselves to our 
lot. I have not long to live, but by God's help will 
try to lead a better life than I have done. I think it 
is Smith's teaching. . . . And so I want you to come 
down to the settlement and live with us again. . . , 
The men who were ever a disturbing influence here 
are dead — one by my hand. . . . You alone can 
inspire all that are left of us with hope for the future. 
What is there to keep you from us now ? " 

" Remorse, Young — the misery of my thoughts — 
the constant dread — but there, my dear fellow, leave 
me to myself. You and Smith alone, of all the fated 
wretches who participated in my villainy, have striven 



286 THE MUTINEER 

to lead decent lives. If the others had been like you, 
our life here would have been different. It is too late 
novv^ ; I cannot bear to think of it. My crime was 
bad enough when I saw it in all its hideousness five 
minutes after that morning off Tofoa, but now " 

"Christian," and Young's voice took a deep earnest- 
ness, " you suffered under Bligh as none of us sufiFered. 
I, aye, and Smith too, were equally guilty with you 
and the mutiny was no crime." 

"No crime ! Is it no crime to have been the 
murderer of nineteen persons ? — nineteen of my fellow- 
countrymen turned adrift to die of the horrors of 
hunger and thirst in an open boat ! " 

"They may have reached land." 

A faint light came into Christian's eyes — 
" Young, if I could but dare to hope it ! God knows 
I would give my life twenty times over to know it. 
But, even if they did, all England knows the infamy 
of Fletcher Christian, the disgraced mutineer. . . . 
But what difference does it make ? Have I not the 
blood of those who landed here with me upon my soul ?" 

He rose from his seat and paced to and fro in the 
gathering dusk, and Young could see that his emotion 
had for the time mastered him. 

" Come," he said at last, " try to forget the past. 
Once more I implore you, Christian, to return to the 
settlement. Your wife" — and he turned his face 
away as he spoke as if fearful that even darkness 
could not hide the burning flush of shame upon his 
cheeks — " your wife is in no fit state to live here. 
The dreadful loneliness of it is killing her." 



"TRY TO FORGET THE PAST" 287 

A step sounded near, and the next moment Smith 
joined them. 

" Aye, indeed, Mr. Christian. She was never a 
strong woman, and her time is near. Surely you will 
let her come and be tended by our women ? " 

The sincerity of the appeals touched him at last. 
" You are right, Smith, God bless you, old friends 
both, for making me think of her a little. Yes, we 
will come and dwell in the settlement till the child 
is born." 

The next day Mahina came down from the cavern 
with a great joy in her heart ; for the loneliness of 
her life, even with her husband to watch over her, 
robbed her of both health and strength, and she loved 
to hear the sound of her countrywomen's voices. 

A few weeks afterwards her third child was born ; 
and while the other two played with the children of 
McCoy, Quintal, and Young, Mahina was tenderly 
nursed and cared for by the Tahitians till she grew 
strong again. 

But soon, unable to conquer his aversion to the 
society of his fellow-men, Christain again left her to 
return to his cave, bidding her to follow him when 
she was well enough. 



The first day of the nineteenth century came in as 
did most days at Pitcairn — a flush of sunlight melt- 
ing the mists of the mountain tops, piercing the dark 
shades of the wooded valleys with broad blades of 
golden light, and rousing the sleeping rookeries of 



288 THE MUTINEER 

sea-birds into clamorous life. Long ere the glittering 
dews of the night that hung in beady drops from every 
leaf and blade of grass had quivered and fallen to the 
first breaths of the trade-wind, Christian awoke from 
his broken slumbers, and was moodily taking his 
accustomed walk along the eastern cliffs. 

What had happened in the world he had left 
behind ? he thouo-ht. Was he accounted as long since 
dead ? Was there one living soul in all England 
whose thoughts went out to him sometimes ? Slowly 
he paced along buried in thought. When he reached 
the end of his walk he sat on a jutting ledge of rock 
overhanging the boiling surf three hundred feet below, 
where his eye ranged over the wide expanse of spark- 
ling ocean. Day after day, for years he had looked 
out thus upon the bosom of the sailless sea, and had 
seen nothing but the swift flight of the blue-billed 
kanapu and fierce-eyed frigate birds as they sailed to 
and fro or plunged from aerial heights into the deep ; 
or far above, the snow-white tropic birds, floating with 
motionless wing and gazing down at the human figure 
below. Was it likely, he thought, that his refuge 
would ever be discovered ? Would 

He started to his feet and w^ith dilated eyes looked 
at the horizon. There, clearly within view, were the 
topgallant sails of a ship ! 

Crouching — he knew not why — upon his knees, he 
clutched the ledge of rock with shaking hands and 
watched for nearly a quarter of an hour. The trade- 
wind was fast bringing the ship nearer, and before 
long her courses rose to view. A few minutes more 



"TRY TO FORGET THE PAST" 289 

he gazed, then, struck by a sudden impubc, he ran 
along the ledge till he reached the pathway to Bounty 
Bay. He bounded down the steep and fearful descent 
to where the Bounty s boat was hauled up upon rough 
skids laid down by Young and Smith many months 
before. Old as she was, the boat was not now un- 
seaworthy, as she had been when Nahi and the other 
Tahitian women attempted to escape in her ; for 
Smith had put her in a fair state of repair, so that she 
might be used for fishing when the surf did not 
break too heavily upon the shores of the little 
bay. 

Christian tugged vainly at the boat and rocked her 
from side to side in an endeavour to start her down 
the skids ; but his strength was not equal to the 
task. 

He ceased his efforts, and then looked seaward, 
but the ship was not visible from where he 
stood. 

" Oh ! for some help," he muttered," " but that I 
cannot, dare not seek ; neither Young nor Smith 
must see me." He thought for a moment, then with 
excitement, began again to ascend the path to his 
cave. Panting with his exertions he soon gained the 
top of the cliff's, and ran along the dangerous path till 
he reached the cavern. He darted inside and quickly 
reappeared with his musket and a block and tackle, 
which he had often used to drag weights to his retreat. 
With this he hoped to launch the boat by making one 
end or the tackle fast to a point of rock just at tjie 
water's edge, and the other to her stern ringbolt. 

20 



290 THE MUTINEER 

The musket he intended to fire to attract notice from 
the ship should other means fail. 

Returning to the beach he was soon exerting all 
his strength to start the heavy little boat down to 
the water. 



CHAPTER XXXV 



THE LAST SHOT ON AFITA. 



BY this time the ship was within three or four 
miles of the island, and had been seen by one of 
the Tahitian women. She ran back to the settlement, 
and roused the little community to a state of wild 
excitement by her loud cries of "A ship ! a ship ! 
A ship is coming." 

Soon Young and Smith reached the clifFs, and one 
glance at the ocean showed them the vessel — a ship of 
war, they were quick to perceive, by the cut of her 
canvas and her lofty spars. 

Young was scarcely able to walk, and his excitement 
at first prevented him from speaking, but when he 
could control himself he held a hurried consultation 
with Smith, who then set off for Christian's cave to 
inform him of the ship's approach, while Young 
returned to the settlement and told Mahina to prepare 
to leave the house and, with the other women, be 
ready to hide herself if necessary. 

They had resolved, as a first step towards safety, 

that every person on the island should assemble near the 

291 



292 THE MUTINEER 

cavern. The difficulty of access and the remoteness of 
its situation, they thought, would afford them all a safe 
retreat from such people as might land. It was hoped 
by Young and Smith that, unless the vessel was a 
King's ship specially sent to search for the missing 
mutineers, those who placed foot on shore would not 
easily discover that the island was inhabited. As a first 
precaution, however, some of the women were sent to 
remove all traces of human occupancy from the two 
little beaches, and to cover up the bounty $ boat with 
dead coconut branches and bushes. 

Four of them departed to do this, while Mahina and 
her children, with the remaining women, set out for 
Christian's cave. 

But when they reached the cavern they found it 
deserted by both Christian and Smith, and saw that no 
preparations had been made to defend the narrow path 
leading to the stronghold. 

Frightened at the absence of the two men, the terri- 
fied women ran hither and thither, calling loudly, and 
seeking for traces of them ; till presently Mahina, 
wildly excited, sped down the path and looked over 
the edge of the cliffs to the beach below. Then a cry 
of alarm broke from her. 

Beckoning to the others, she flew down the perilous 
path to the shore. Half-way she stumbled and, but 
for a projecting pinnacle of rock, would have pitched 
headlong to the beach. Before she recovered herself 
the other women overtook her, and were peering down 
to discover what it was that had so agitated her. But 
from where they clustered together they could see only 



THE LAST SHOT ON AFITA 293 

the billows bursting in foam upon the black rocks 
below ; and while they waited for Mahina to explain 
there came the report of a musket from beneath. 

Too far down on their way to turn back, as their 
rears dictated, Mahina's companions stood trembling 
and hesitating, their hearts filled with an undefined 
apprehension that some fresh tragedy had occurred. 



Smith, filled with anxiety for his leader, had hurried 
along the rocky track to Christian's cave. The dreaded 
hour had arrived at last — the hour that he and the 
other mutineers had so often feared. A King's ship ! 
Yes, she could be no other ! His seaman's eye told 
him she was a ship of war. Perhaps she was a French- 
man ? That was not likely. She was English — sent 
to search for them ; and even if she were not, she 
evidently intended to send a boat ashore. Once a 
landing party from the ship ascended the cliflFs they 
could not fail to see the houses, and would not take 
long to find those who lived in them. Then would 
come discovery and a disgraceful death. 

But, thought he, Christian will never be taken alive ; 
and even if the presence of white men upon the island 
should be discovered, the cave was hard to find. And 
still, even if the ship were in search of Christian and 
his companions, the identity of the inhabitants might 
not perhaps be suspected. If the worst came to the 
worst, they could make a fight of it to the death in 
such a place as Christian's stronghold. 

So ran the quick current of his thoughts as he 



294 THE MUTINEER 

panted up the ridge to the cave — then, with an ex- 
clamation of dismay, he saw that it was untenanted. 

As loudly as possible he called Christian's name, but 
only the countless reverberation of his cries answered 
him from the desolate solitude. A hurried glance 
down the path which he had just ascended showed no 
human being in sight. Surely Christian could not be 
far off? He must either be coming along the ridge 
and hidden from view, or lying asleep somewhere 
along the edge of the cliffs. Perhaps he had gone to 
the beach ? 

Hastily descending again, Smith struck across to the 
eastern side of the island, till he came to a spot which 
overlooked Bounty Bay. He knew that Christian, in 
his lonely wanderings, sometimes visited the place, and 
sat for hours upon the wreckage of the Bounty $ spars. 
A thick, stunted growth of matted scrub and vines 
grew to the very edge of the cliffs, but hastily pushing 
through it, the seaman looked down. There, far below, 
he saw the man he sought, bending his tackle to launch 
the bounty's boat ! 

The next moment, too anxious even to lose time 
by descending the regular path Smith, at the hazard of 
his life, began to scramble down the almost precipitous 
face of the cliff. At last, with bleeding feet and hands, 
he reached the shore. 

"In God's name, Mr. Christian, what are you 
trying to do ? " he demanded, breathlessly. 

"What am I trying to do?" repeated Christian 
fiercely — " I am about to end it all. That is a King's 
ship, and I am going to give myself up." 



THE LAST SHOT ON AFITA 295 

"You must be mad to talk like this. Come away 
at once and let us get back to the cave, or we shall all 
be discovered." 

" It will be your own fault ifyou are ; you and those 
with you may do as you please, but I will board that 
ship," answered Christian wildly, and Smith saw that 
he was nearly mad with excitement. As he spoke he 
still strained with all his might on the tackle, and the 
boat, once started, slid down the skids till her stern 
touched the pebbly beach. 

" By God, you shan't do this ! Our lives as well as 
yours depend upon your hiding with us " ; and Smith 
laid his hand on the fall of the tackle so as to prevent 
Christian from unshipping the hook. 

" Stand back, Smith ! Stand back, I say. I swear 
that no longer shall justice go unsatisfied. I will go ! " 
As a wave dashed up, the boat lifted and floated ; he 
sprang past Smith, jumped in and cast off the tackle. 

Seizing hold of the gunwale. Smith exerted all his 
strength and drew the boat broadside on to the beach. 

" Beware, man, beware ! " and Christian's eyes 
blazed with sudden fury — " let go your hold, I say. 
I am dangerous ! " Smith recognised it was no time 
for words ; he released his hold, jumped into the boat, 
and threw himself upon the desperate man. They 
went down together, and the boat rocked from side 
to side with the violence of their struggle. No 
word was spoken, but there was in Christian's face 
such a look of savage determination to overcome his 
friend, that Smith at last aimed a blow at his head, 
thinking to stun him for a time. 



296 THE MUTINEER 

Nerved with a madman's strength, the blow only 
seemed to rouse him to greater fury ; with a mighty 
effort he freed himself from Smith's left arm, which 
was wound about his waist, and in another moment his 
hand grasped the barrel of the loaded musket, which he 
drew towards him by the muzzle. 

Then Smith again threw himself upon him. There 
was a short, fierce struggle, a report, and Fletcher 
Christian sank back with a groan — the ball had passed 
through his chest. 

Sick with horror. Smith staggered to his feet and 
raised the dying man in his arms. He lifted him out 
of the boat and carried him to the beach, where he 
placed him in a sitting posture ; then tearing off 
his shirt he sought to stanch the fearful rush of 
blood. 

" My God, sir ! my God, sir ! you don't think 'twas 
my doing ? " he asked in anguished tones. 

" No, no, my good fellow," gasped Christian, " you 
are not to blame. My foot must have touched the 
trigger. ... I was mad." 

Smith knelt beside him, overcome with grief and 
blinded by tears. He took his leader's hand in his and 
tried to speak, but one look at the gaping wound told 
him that the end was near. 

And then there echoed from the cliffs a cry of heart- 
broken agony. Mahina, springing from rock to rock, 
had reached the overhanging ledge under which her 
husband lay, and, looking down, saw him. 

Leaping to the ground, she turned upon Smith. 
" Thou murderer ; thou hast slain him ! " she cried. 



THE LAST SHOT ON AFITA 297 

and pushing him away, threw herself upon her knees 
beside her husband. 

" Nay, nay, Mahina," he said ; " not so. My foot 
struck the gun. . . . He hath ever been my friend. 
. . . Listen to me ... for in a little time I die." 

Slowly and gaspingly the words came, and Mahina, 
with a sob of misery, saw the grey shadows of death 
dimming the eyes of him she loved so well. 

" He shall not die ; he shall not die ! " she cried 
wildly to Smith and Young, who had now joined them, 
and was overcome at the scene before him. " Save 
him, save him, lest ye both die accursed ! " then burst 
into anguished weeping, as she bent her face upon her 
husband's knees. 

" Is that you. Young ? " asked Christian faintly — 
" my time is nearly run, old friend," and he put out 
his brown, sun-tanned hand. " But, quick ; listen to 
me. . . . Save yourselves while there is yet time. 
. . . The ship must be near now." 

" No," said Young, pressing his hand, " she kept oft 
quite suddenly when within a mile of the land. I saw 
her stand away again to the westward. In another 
hour she'll be hull down." 

"Thank God!" he murmured. "Mahina . 
wife . . . come closer to me, . . . and you. Young 
and Smith, give me your hands. Promise me that no 
one but yourselves shall ever know where I lie. Let 
no other white man point to my grave and say, 
' Fletcher Christian . . . mutineer.' " 

He ceased, then by a dying effort, opened his arms 
wide. 



298 THE MUTINEER 

" Mahina ! My wife ! Mother of my children ! 
• • • it is all over now," he sighed with his last breath, 
as his arms closed gently round her neck. 

She pressed her cheek to his ; his head sank upon 
her shoulder, and then lay there in the quietness of 
death. 

* * * * * 

Years later, when Pitcairn was " discovered," the 
venerable man, loved and revered by the children of 
the mutineers under the name of John Adams, revealed 
his identity with Alexander Smith, and tremblingly 
waited to hear his fate from the lips of the naval 
officers who had landed on the island. The story of 
the death of Young from consumption soon after that 
of Christian, as well as the deaths of the others of the 
ill-starred company, was told by him ; though, faithful 
to his promise, he refused to show his leader's last 
resting-place ; and the listeners heard for the first time 
the fate of the Bounty mutineers. 



THE END. 



UNWIN BROTHERS, PRINTERS, WOKIXG A.\D LOXDOX. 



14 DAY USE 

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LOAN DEPT. 

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